Too often, people who don’t share one’s goals are labeled an “enemy.” More often than not, it’s a misnomer.
Those who disagree with the way a person or organization approaches an issue, but who support the overall goals of the organization, are not “enemies.” They are more accurately called “opponents.”
People or organizations that don’t respect the right of IEA or other unions to exist can fairly be described as enemies.
Take the Illinois Policy Institute.
“The Institute” is often referenced in the news media as a “non-partisan think tank.” That’s a marketing ploy that disguises the fact that IPI is an anti-tax, anti-union group. By the way, “The Institute” refuses to divulge its funding sources.
The Institute has been pushing hard on public employee pensions for years and is currently holding a series of pension forums around the state. IEA, and in one case IFT, accepted IPI’s invitation to participate in the forums. This has allowed the unions to counter misinformation spread by the Institute. The Institute’s goal is to persuade the public and we intend to make sure that facts are part of the presentation.
At each of these forums, The Institute presents a poll that suggests the public supports their call for immediate public employee pension benefit cuts.
However, IEA recently conducted its own voter poll, using solid methodology, and found that voters aren’t clamoring to cut teacher pensions.
A new scientific statewide poll shows that, despite years of hostile editorials, a well-funded public relations campaign and the non-stop efforts of anti-union “think tanks” to turn the public against education employees, more than two-thirds of Illinois voters (68 percent) believe that teachers should receive their pensions as they were promised, even when pressed about the state’s budget problems.
As someone said to me, “If I were one of those union-hating millionaires, I’d be asking for a refund on this union smear campaign.”
Instead, it appears the IPI is “doubling down:”
The Illinois Policy Institute is committed to making Illinois first in economic outlook and job creation, and a free enterprise leader for the rest of the nation. To that end, the Institute is pleased to announce the following additions to its full-time, senior staff. By expanding our legal, policy, legislative and news capacities, the Institute will be better poised to pursue this vision.
The IPI’s new labor policy guy makes it clear in a ludicrous opinion piece in today’s Springfield paper that the ability to have union dues automatically deducted is next on his hit list. He hopes to accomplish this by convincing the public that, somehow, dues deduction is actually an assault on their (the public’s) finances.
So it is governments who sign the contracts, and governments who guarantee and collect the money that flows to unions. Rank-and-file union workers are never asked if they would like to deduct money from their paycheck or be represented at the bargaining table.
Under this arrangement, taxpayer money is funneled to big labor through this backdoor union tax.
That’s right. “Union tax.” Being able to keep a straight face while spewing gibberish is apparently a important skill for new Institute hires.
The Institute is part of a national campaign to essentially defund the unions. Without resources, the unions can’t advocate. If they don’t advocate, it’s off to the races for the Koch brothers and all the others who are out to lower the standard of living for the great majority of Americans.
What Kersey and IPI want is the death of IEA, IFT, CTU, AFSCME and the rest of the public employee unions. The sooner, the better.
Then, there will be no one to repel attacks on pensions, no one to fight for quality teaching and learning conditions, no one to advocate for adequate funding.
With the unions out of the way, their dream of turning Illinois into Scott Walker’s Wisconsin might be doable.
The IPI has drawn a target on the backs on public employee unions. They seem to have an endless supply of money. We don’t know where it comes from but we do know:
The Illinois public supports teachers and public education.
The “Institute” is fighting to change that.
The “Institute” must be stopped.
Support your union. Now more than ever.