Hazardous Materials Workforce Training Act

The Illinois Hazardous Materials Workforce Training Act ensures that highly qualified workers are hired to maintain high hazard facilities. Under the Act, workers would receive advanced safety training for work performed at high hazard facilities. The hiring of highly qualified workers ensures worker safety and the safety of surrounding communities. 

Paid Sick Leave 

1.5 million workers in Illinois have no right to paid sick leave. Workers are fired for missing a day of work when they are sick, or they come into work jeopardizing their health and risk infecting the public and other workers. It is critical, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, that workers stay home when they are sick. The Healthy Workplace Act allows workers to earn up to 5 paid sick days per year to use for the illness or medical appointments of themselves or a family member; school or building closures; a need related to domestic or sexual violence; and legal-related appointments.

Nurse Staffing - HB 2604

COVID-19 has highlighted how nurses are overworked, understaffed, and left vulnerable without adequate and sufficient personal protective equipment to keep them safe. Nurses, especially in acute care settings, have an almost impossible patient count that does not allow them to properly care for patients. The Safe Patient Limits Act limits the number of patients that may be assigned to a registered nurse in a specified unit.  

General Contractor Liability - HB 2838

HB 2838 ensures that all workers on a public or private construction project are paid for their labor. The primary contractor is responsible for ensuring that all contractors, subcontractors, and workers are paid for their work. 

Non-instructional Employees Unemployment Benefits

Typically, non-instructional employees (ie teacher aides, food service workers, bus drivers) in schools are denied unemployment insurance eligibility for the summer months and academic breaks. The COVID-19 pandemic has left many of these workers unemployed as school districts move to a hybrid or virtual model. These workers need continued access to unemployment benefits for pending layoffs due to the pandemic.

Board & Commissions Confirmations

The Illinois AFL-CIO is dedicated to the appointment and confirmation of labor members to the State of Illinois Boards and Commissions. These Boards and Commissions have a tremendous influence over the lives of the working people in Illinois. These Boards and Commissions decide on key initiatives that provide worker organizing rights, mass transit policies, infrastructure projects, unemployment benefits, and the education of our children.


The Illinois AFL-CIO is committed to advancing both a pro-worker and pro-climate energy agenda. It is important that workers are a priority in all energy policy decisions. As Illinois transitions into a new clean-energy economy, the new energy infrastructure must be built with prevailing wage, labor peace agreements, project labor agreements, and responsible bidder requirements.  

Workers' Compensation

In June 2020, the Governor signed HB 2455 into law, expanding workers’ compensation coverage by creating a rebuttable presumption that essential workers who contract COVID-19 did so because of their employment.  As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact workers across the state, it is important that workers are assured that the expansion of the Occupational Disease Act will continue for the duration of the pandemic.


The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating impacts on our economy. The Illinois AFL-CIO will continue to advocate for the health and safety of workers, while advancing thoughtful ways to help the economy rebuild. Currently, state and local governments across the state are faced with budget short falls that will result in massive unemployment. The unemployment system is overwhelmed, and the state must consider ways of resolving the impending unemployment insurance trust fund deficit. 

For more information, contact Illinois AFL-CIO Legislative Director - Frances Orenic, 217-492-2611