The Workers’ Rights Amendment represents the first time a proactive measure to protect the right to bargain in a state constitution was collectively passed by voters in the country. In contrast, big money and corporate interests have pushed anti-worker ballot initiatives in many states, including Tennessee in 2022, putting the Labor movement on defense. Our effort in Illinois showcases how the labor movement can clearly define the debate on unions nationally in a way that both protects the rights of working people and provides an opportunity to bolster politicians of both parties who support workers.
The Sexton Group was contacted by senior staff for the Worker’s Rights campaign and representatives from the labor community, which largely funded the effort. Together, we designed and implemented a text outreach program informing voters and reminding them of the upcoming election. The program consisted of five texts, targeting universes from 150,000 to 800,000 voters, including graphics and messaging to educate voters about this important issue. Several texts included a link to our TV ads, allowing us to reach voters with another medium.
On Election Day, Illinois voters approved the Workers’ Rights Amendment, guaranteeing the fundamental right to organize and collectively bargain in the state. The election results demonstrated broad, bipartisan support across Illinois. It is significant that the Amendment vastly outperformed Democratic candidate performance in increasingly Republican areas of downstate Illinois, running more than 24 points ahead of Biden’s 2020 performance in six counties.