Chicago City Council Passes Ordinance Protecting Right to Unionize for Human Service Workers

Chicago City Hall

The Chicago City Council passed the historic Human Service Workforce Advancement Ordinance with a veto-proof majority, protecting the right to unionize for social service workers at organizations that receive city grants.

The ordinance would use labor peace agreements in city contracts to make it easier for human service workers to unionize without retaliation.

“Every worker deserves the right to unionize without fear. Human service employees provide important services to vulnerable communities. They deserve to have a voice and advocate for themselves at work. This ordinance will allow human service workers to organize for the pay and respect they deserve without intimidation,” said SEIU Local 73 President Dian Palmer.

The ordinance was introduced into the Joint Committee on Health and Human Relations and the Committee on Workforce Development in 2019 by Alderman Gilbert Villegas.

“When workers in nonprofit human service agencies have good pay and benefits, we can sustain ourselves in this work and provide higher quality services. I am excited about this ordinance because this entire sector needs a lift, and I’m hopeful that human services workers across Chicago will feel safe and empowered to come together to organize for positive changes that will raise all of us up,” said Lillian Gecker, Clinician II at JCFS Response for Teens.

Chicago City Hall” by Ajay Suresh is licensed under CC BY 2.0