R.S.V.P. (You’re Invited To Springfield)
Illinois Education Association
Illinois Federation of Teachers
Illinois University Teachers
Phrase: Respondez s’il vous plait In formal French etiquette, please respond, or more literally, respond if it pleases you.
The We Are One Coalition extends this invitation to rally in Springfield on January 3 and 4 to more than just public sector education employees. In fact, because we are all in this together, the invitation goes out to ALL members of the We Are One coalition. ALL means nearly one million statewide members working to protect and preserve public pensions and the contractual promises made to those workers by the General Assembly, the political leadership in Illinois, and the citizenry of Illinois through the ratification of the Illinois Constitution in 1970. Those contractual promises of the Constitution are now challenged by a series of bills, including HB6258 by Rep. Nekritz and Rep. Biss, which threatens to severely reduce COLA’s for all present and past employees, alter the defined-benefit package, force higher contributions, etc.
On Friday, December 7, IEA President Cinda Klickna affirmed the importance of all educators’ attendance at the demonstrations, noting that IEA buses are for “members and friends, family, IRTA members” – in short, anyone from your neighbor police officer to the concerned retiree next door. Please Get on the bus!
Pointless publicity or poignant presence? Look to the CTU for an answer. This last summer, CTU President Karen Lewis remarked that their (the union’s) purpose in demonstration and strike was to indicate the outrage and solidarity of their “education-justice fight.” In retrospect, the CTU’s action was hardly pointless; in fact, the Washington Times in a post-strike report described the Chicago action as responsible for a national refusal by educational unions to back down. “Rather than the unions’Waterloo, the Chicago walkout likely was a precursor of things to come” So Get on the bus!
Poignancy in a large presence? Remember that “Illinois voters overwhelmingly blame politicians for creating the state’s public employee pension mess, but like elected officials, they’re divided about plans to fix the problem,” according to a Chicago Tribune/WGN poll in October of 2012. Real remedies like moving away from an antiquated flat tax, changing the budgetary process, or amortizing the ridiculous 1995 ramp-up will fall only on the Speaker-deafened ears of representatives and senators – not the public – without a wake-up notice. Rallies educate those on the sidelines too. Get on the bus!
Finally, like any invitation to a gathering of the brightest minds in Illinois, gain from the experience. Meet others and network. Seek ideas and answers. Share strategies for educating politicians; explain this injustice to your neighbors; share the professionalism of your good work over the years. Get on the bus!
Contact your local IEA Office and reserve your seat today!
Click on the city nearest you and call that office.