Amendment 1 could undermine 11 DCFS provisions on child protection
Amendment 1 would allow unions to override child protection provisions that Illinois is supposed to protect.
More than 1,100 children have died under the supervision of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services for the past 11 years, including 5 year olds AJ friendwho was found in a shallow grave about his mother in 2019 despite 10 DCFS hotline calls.
but Change 1, slated for Nov. 8, 2022, would undermine 11 different provisions of state law protecting Illinois children like AJ – including mandatory ones Background controls for DCFS employees and employment bans for adults apply as “Sexually dangerous” from the State.
And improving the DCFS and its ability to keep children safe could become even more difficult even if the General Assembly revised the law and required new training or employee assessments.
Because Amendment No 1 would allow trade unions to negotiate everything – wages, working hours, employment conditions, economic welfare and security – without restrictions.
In addition, Amendment 1 would give union leaders the permanent ability to override state laws through collective agreements – including the provisions of the Child and Family Services Act.
The various provisions include laws aimed at The DCFS mission “Protecting children who are reported to be abused or neglected and increasing their families’ ability to take care of them safely; look after the well-being of the children in our care; [and] to provide suitable, permanent families as quickly as possible … “
This contains Section 5 (z), which requires DCFS to collect “background information” on all of its employees, and Section 11.1which prohibits the employment of persons who have been declared as “sexually dangerous”.
It also includes Section 34.3which requires DCFS to review cases to determine whether case workers “have adequately identified and addressed actual or potential drug or alcohol abuse problems faced by clients”.
But Amendment 1 would allow union contracts to contradict and override these provisions. For example the Union representing DCFS workers could require a contract provision prohibiting the state from conducting background checks or reviewing the work of employees – on the pretext that such provisions refer to a “condition of employment”. If the state does not cooperate, the union could call a strike.
While the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act already did expressly allowed To override state law in union contracts in this way would make Amendment 1 permanent. The legislature would never be able to take back control of the union leaders.
This is because Amendment 1 also prohibits the legislature from restricting the subject matter of the contract. It expressly states: “No law may be passed that affects, negates or restricts the right of workers to organize and to bargain collectively on their wages, working hours and other conditions of employment and job security. … “
In other words, Amendment 1 puts the power of government unions to negotiate DCFS workers’ contracts over state law and the powers of the legislature.
And unfortunately for the youth of the state, Amendment No 1 would allow unions to permanently substitute the best for children like AJ.