We Are One coalition planning next steps
The IEA and its We Are One coalition partners are continuing to meet and plan strategies to deal with the pension issues that have risen to the forefront of Illinois politics.
Last week, the Illinois General Assembly adjourned without enacting the harmful and unconstitutional pension reforms (SB 1673) that had threatened all participants in the state Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) and State Universities Retirement System (SURS).
But the pension issues remain. The governor has called for a Wednesday (June 6) meeting with legislative leaders of both houses and parties to discuss pension issues and solutions. There is no doubt that the governor and legislative leaders are serious about pension reform and are committed to making it happen soon.
This is no time for rest. The We Are One coalition, including the IEA, will be active in its advocacy for fair solutions that are constitutional.
Without question, the intense and unprecedented lobbying efforts of the IEA and its coalition partners were instrumental in stopping the unfair legislation last week.
- IEA lobbyists, elected officers, members, program and field staff worked tirelessly at home and the state Capitol urging legislators to oppose unconstitutional changes that would hurt actively employed IEA members as well as those already retired.
- In May alone, We Are One coalition members and supporters placed more than 80,000 phone calls in opposition to unfair pension cuts to legislators through the coalition phone bank. Over 60,000 calls were placed just during the last seven days of the session (May 25-31).
- IEA members and supporters sent more than 95,000 emails to legislators through the IEA website in May. The messages urged legislators to stop the fast-track legislation and work cooperatively with the union stakeholders to find acceptable pension solutions.
- Retired IEA members on May 29 delivered a petition to the governor that contained more than 33,000 signatures in opposition to unfair pension legislation.
- The IEA website handled more than 70,000 views just last week from those who sought timely information about the pension fight.
Still, the effort to fight against unfair changes must continue. An unconstitutional pension bill (HB 1447) affecting members of the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) and the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS) passed the Senate and is awaiting action from the House when the General Assembly convenes again, perhaps as early as this summer in a special legislative session. Legislative support for this unfair proposal affecting government workers and legislators means additional attacks on TRS and SURS cannot be far behind.
“I could not be prouder of our member and coalition efforts to fight against these unfair pension schemes,” said IEA President Cinda Klickna. “Our legislative outreach, including thousands upon thousands of contacts with representatives and senators, made a huge difference. But we cannot sit back and rest. We must continue the fight against the unconstitutional plans that won’t work and continue the work toward fair solutions that will stabilize the retirement systems. That’s a goal that all stakeholders can share.”
Cub fans join us for IEA night at Wrigley Field
We have a limited number of tickets to the 7:05 p.m. Chicago Cubs vs. Detroit Tigers game at Wrigley Field June 12. IEA member and Illinois Teacher of the Year Josh Stumpenhorst will be throwing out the first pitch!
Send us your mailing address and we will ship two tickets to you. Tickets will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.
Summer Regional Core Conferences
Sponsored by the Illinois State Board of Education, conferences will be held in Fairview Heights, Rockford and Springfield in June. Connect with colleagues as you discover and explore tasks and assessments in mathematics and English language arts.
The workshops will help develop a deeper understanding of critical thinking and questions methods. The intended audience is teachers, curriculum directors, SSOS coaches and content specialists. Click here for more information and to register for the core conferences which begin next week.
Summer Leadership Academy
You are invited to the IEA Summer Leadership Academy 2012, featuring a keynote address by Chris Gardner, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller The Pursuit of Happyness.
The theme for the 2012 SLA is “Power Through Unity.” Participants will come away with new tools, new connections and new ideas to effectively harness and strategically unleash the power that 130,000 members can generate to maintain and build strong schools, strong communities and a strong economy.
Register now! Before the “school” of your choice fills up! Click here for more information.
Did you know you can forward the insider?
Scroll down your insider and click “Forward email,” where you will be given a screen to enter email addresses for your colleagues to receive electronic correspondence from IEA.
During times of crisis, it’s important for all members to get up-to-the-minute information. Home email addresses help ensure electronic correspondence will reach you.
Save on summer fun
You’ve earned some summer fun! Check out the values available through the NEA Member Benefits Click & Save program. From relaxing on a “staycation” to going on a dream vacation, we can help you save money!
Save these dates!
Summer Leadership Academy – July 24-27
IEA CORE Conferences – Sept. 28-29
IEA ESP Conference (Oak Brook) – Oct. 12-13