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The rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) and other automating technologies generates concerns among scholars, policymakers, and workers’ representatives. AI is expected to bring profound transformations to the workplace, and preparing for these changes will facilitate a smoother transition into the future.
In 2022, the Illinois Task Force on the Future of Work produced a comprehensive report highlighting areas for attention regarding how new technologies will impact the workforce, acknowledging potential impacts on wages, occupational trends, and the nature of work itself.
Read full report here.
Reports of Illinois’ population decline have been greatly exaggerated due to a reliance on faulty Census estimates instead of actual counts of people. An analysis of Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement survey data from 2013 through 2022 and Illinois Department of Revenue data from 2010 through 2020 can provide clarity and context, as well as important details on who is moving out of, moving into, and staying in Illinois. Read full report here.
This report consists of two chapters addressing potential reforms for tipped minimum wage in the City of Chicago. The Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection sought the assistance of the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago in conducting a study required by the Chicago City Council that examines the economic impact of tipped wages and the effectiveness of current enforcement in Chicago.
The first chapter, by Alison Dickson and Augustus Wood, analyzes collected survey responses of tipped restaurant and bar employees working in Chicago in an effort to identify employment violations and financial hardships experienced by workers. The second chapter, by Matthew Notowidigdo and Jeremy Mopsick, focuses on recent minimum wage reforms from cities across the country with special attention on tipped workers and minimum wage noncompliance in order to draw lessons for potential minimum wage reform in Chicago.
Read full report here.
Workers at Illinois’ public universities are earning between 14% and 20% less than their counterparts employed directly by state government agencies, according to a first-of-its-kind study released by the Project for Middle Class Renewal (PMCR) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI).
Read full report here.
So-called “right-to-work” laws are government regulations that prohibit employers and unions from voluntarily ensuring that each member who accrues a return from collective bargaining also contributes a fair share. They allow workers to forgo union membership but require unions to continue providing services and benefits to those who do not pay. This reduces the resources that unions have available to advocate for workers and organize new members, weakening worker bargaining power. Read full report here.
Public approval of labor unions remains at a six-decade high, with bipartisan support from across the political spectrum. Data shows that union workers earn higher wages, are more likely to have health insurance coverage, and have greater access to paid leave. Though the unionization rate fell nationally for the second consecutive year, the United States added union members in 2022 for the first time since 2017. Today, Illinois’ union membership rate is about 13 percent, which is significantly higher than the national average (10 percent) and is the 12th-highest union density among the 50 U.S. states. Read full report here.
Registered apprenticeships are training programs in which participants “earn while they learn” with tuition costs covered by employers or joint labor-management organizations, who gain access to a stable pool of skilled workers. Apprenticeship training is particularly important to combating skilled labor shortages in construction. Read full report here.
Registered apprenticeships are training programs in which participants “earn while they learn” with tuition costs covered by employers or joint labor-management organizations, who gain access to a stable pool of skilled workers. Apprenticeship training is particularly important to combating skilled labor shortages in construction. Joint labor-management apprenticeship programs account for the vast majority of registered apprentices in Michigan’s construction industry.
For most unions in the United States, ‘no strike’ collective bargaining clauses are the most visible manifestation of the twentieth-century industrial relations commitment to maintaining ‘labor peace.’ Unions and employers agree to a detailed contractual grievance and arbitration process in exchange for workers waiving a right to strike and assurances from management to address worker grievances and abide by a formal protocol. The near universal adoption of ‘no strike’ contract language is a tripartite tradeoff between unions, companies, and the state which affords unions a form of workplace due process while insuring employers against lapses in the flow of profit due to industrial unrest.
Contrary to common practice, however, the workers employed at Wabtec in Erie, Pennsylvania, and represented by United Electrical Workers (UE) Local 506 had functioned for many years with a contractual right to strike over specific workplace issues. This was an exceptional departure from the post-World War II national norm. But in 2019 when Wabtec purchased a locomotive plant in Erie from General Electric (GE), the right to strike over grievances was dropped from the labor agreement. Read the full report here.
Illinois is at a fiscal crossroads. The state’s General Fund has run a budget deficit for each of the past 22 years—a deficit primarily driven by the lack of revenue growth1. And while many like to blame Illinois’ fiscal woes on profligate spending on services, the data simply does not support that position. In fact, after adjusting for inflation, General Fund spending on public services has decreased over the past 23 years, with considerable reductions in critical investments like Higher Education, Healthcare, Public Safety, and Human Services.
Tellingly, Illinois has cut its spending on those core services, despite receiving over $10 billion in federal subsidies through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and the American Rescue Plan Act. Looking forward, all that federal fiscal relief is expected to be spent by the middle of FY 2024. Further aggravating conditions for working- and middle-class residents, Illinois is noted for having one of the most regressive tax systems in the country, placing a much greater tax burden on low-income workers and middle-class families than on affluent individuals, when tax burden is measured as a percentage of income.
While Illinois and many other states continue to struggle to create fair tax systems that have the capacity to fund vital services for their residents sustainably over time, wealth inequality has grown exponentially over the past 50 years, and now stands at a level the country has not seen in over a century. For instance, from 1963 to 2016, the most recent year in which available wealth data is stratified by percentile, the wealthiest one percent in America saw their aggregate wealth jump from an average of $1.4 million in 1963 to $10.4 million in 2016 —a whopping 742 percent increase. Over that same sequence, folks who had wealth in the 75th percentile saw their wealth grow from just over $110,000 to $368,600—a far more modest increase in both absolute and proportional terms. Moreover, the lower down the income scale one looks, the worse the disparity in wealth becomes.
Read full report here.