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Locked Out Union Workers in IL Could Get Unemployment

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Ill. State Capitol (KWMU file photo)

By IL Public Radio

Springfield, Ill. – Illinois workers locked out in labor disputes may soon be eligible for unemployment benefits.

A measure that makes the change in state law to allow for that is headed to the governor.

Labor unions say the change is needed to level the playing field during contract negotiations. State Senator Carol Ronen (D-Chicago) says locked out workers can already get unemployment checks in 25 other states: "There's an example right now in the Case factory, an employer in Northwestern Illinois, there are employees there from Wisconsin are getting benefits that employees there in Illinois are not."

Business groups, though, say it will put employers at a disadvantage in contract talks because workers will be less inclined to bargain.

A spokesperson for Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich would not say whether the governor plans to sign the bill into law.

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