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Throughout Illinois, powerful union contracts shield police officers from investigations of alleged misconduct and abuse. Local police unions, like Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), have negotiated watertight municipal agreements that are engineered to obstruct nearly any effort to regulate departments or hold individual officers accountable for criminal acts. Many of these measures are also mirrored in Illinois statute.

Impunity provisions in police contracts and state law are a key driver of racialized officer brutality and corruption. Armored by unjust contract protections, police officers are often emboldened to exceed the limits of their powers with the assurance of virtual immunity.

Earlier this month, the Workers Center for Racial Justice (WCRJ), in partnership with Representative Carol Ammons, introduced state legislation to outlaw police contract measures that obstruct open investigation of alleged officer misconduct and thwart efforts to enact meaningful police reform. HB 5830 would restore the intended purpose of collective bargaining rights, by limiting police union agreements exclusively to matters of compensation and wages. The proposed legislation would also repeal sections of Illinois law that echo police contract impunity provisions.

Workers' rights to collectively bargain are a vital mechanism for ensuring equity and justice in our labor system - and by extension, throughout our society as a whole. And yet, for nearly half a century, politicized unions, like the FOP, have worked in bad faith to undermine the rightful intentions behind these powers. In municipalities across the state, police unions weaponize bargaining rights as a means to evade accountability for officer wrongdoing and perpetuate systems of racialized police violence, abuse, and corruption.

Historically, when unions have exploited collective bargaining powers to advance ulterior ends outside the scope of labor rights, the law has intervened. For example, in decades past, when workers' unions negotiated racially exclusionary contract terms, the courts ruled these activities to be unlawful.

Amid recent, heightened calls for racial justice across the U.S., Washington D.C. unanimously passed an ordinance to restrict police unions from including impunity measures in collective bargaining agreements. It is now incumbent upon Illinois and other states to enact corresponding legislation to remove impediments to officer accountability and systemic regulation of police departments.

For more information about HB 5830, please contact us directly.


This election cycle, our economic future is on the Illinois ballot. Voters have the opportunity to advance equity and opportunity in our communities by voting YES on the Fair Tax amendment.

With just two weeks remaining before election day, the Workers Center for Racial Justice (WCRJ) and the Center for Racial and Gender Equity (CRGE) are ramping up our voter mobilization efforts to ensure that community members voice their demands for economic justice and racial equity by voting YES on the Fair Tax amendment.

Why fight for a Fair Tax?

For generations, racially discriminatory economic policies have undermined opportunity for Black households across Illinois. And the state’s current tax system only serves to further exacerbate inequality in our communities.

Illinois’ wealthiest residents pay the exact same income tax rate as the state’s middle and lower wage earners. When millionaires and billionaires don’t contribute their fair share, working families shoulder the burden, and essential public services go underfunded.

Under the Fair Tax system, the 97% of us with an annual income below $250,000 would get a tax cut, and the 3% of Illinoisans making more than that would start paying their fair share. Increased revenue would fund quality schools, affordable childcare, access to higher education, and public health.

How are CRGE and WCRJ supporting the fight?

WCRJ polling shows that Black voters overwhelmingly support the amendment - of the over 650 voters we surveyed, more than 79% said they were in favor of a graduated income tax structure for the state. This election cycle WCRJ and CRGE will reach hundreds of thousands of local voters through canvassing, phone calls, texts, and digital ads to ensure that Illinois’ powerful Black electorate plays a decisive role in the outcome of the Fair Tax ballot initiative.

What can I do to help?

You can help power this fight by doing three things:

  1. Share our video about the Fair Tax amendment with everyone you know

  2. Vote early - and make sure you know how to complete the Fair Tax ballot proposition section

  3. Make a donation to support our Get Out the Vote work in the coming weeks

We are in the home stretch of the fight to bring equity to Illinois’ tax structure - and now we need you to help carry this victory across the finish line.


Last week, the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus (ILBC) convened a news conference to unveil its racial justice policy priorities for the upcoming veto session. Members vowed to advance a transformational legislative package centered on dismantling racialized systems of mass incarceration and police brutality.

The Workers Center for Racial Justice (WCRJ) stands in solidarity with the ILBC in its commitment to champion racial equity in partnership with Black communities across Illinois. Ahead of the November legislative session, WCRJ is mobilizing a powerful base of grassroots leadership behind a bold policy platform for Black Liberation. Join us as we call upon the ILBC to include WCRJ's proposed legislation in its policy agenda for the fall veto session.

HB 5394 (SAFER Communities Act) would enact sweeping sentencing reform to reduce the state prison population, and direct the public savings towards job creation for re-entering workers.

HB 5010 would eliminate “extended term” sentencing, which disproportionately targets Black individuals and is a key driver of mass incarceration.

HB 5830 would outlaw provisions in police union contracts that shield officers from accountability for abuse and misconduct. The measure would also repeal current Illinois statute that upholds systems of officer impunity.

For more information on our organizing and policy campaigns, please contact us directly.

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