(Here’s how the We Are One Illinois ad appears on the Tribune main page)
The unions comprising the We Are One Illinois (including IEA, IFT, AFSCME, AFL-CIO) are taking to the public their case against the proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution on the election ballot. The simplicity of the “VOTE NO” message makes a campaign that uses radio and Internet ads the most cost-effective paid-campaign approach.
The unions launched a targeted campaign last week, coinciding with the start of early voting in Illinois.
The campaign includes a radio ad airing on select Chicago-area stations and the Illinois Radio Network. Social media is also part of the campaign, including the use of Facebook to promote the VOTE NO message to union members and their Facebook friends. All that is in addition to Internet ads appearing on high-traffic news websites.
The message also is being promoted via an opinion-editorial from IEA President Cinda Klickna that was sent to newspapers statewide. The column is intended to help the public understand why the amendment is bad for everyone, not just public employees.
Though the amendment is being pitched as the answer to the state’s pension crisis, it will have no impact on the underfunding of state pensions, the cause of the pension problem. In fact, it is actually a power grab by the same politicians who caused the problem in the first place.
However, if passed, the amendment would interfere with local control of schools by allowing a school board’s minority vote to control what the majority wants to do. It would handcuff teachers and school boards — and any other type of governmental board — trying to negotiate fair contracts.
You can send a letter to the editor of your local paper to urge readers to VOTE NO. Keep in mind the letter should focus on reasons why the non-public employee should oppose the proposal, not on how this bad amendment impacts public employees. Among the points you might choose to make:
- The amendment would mean that a majority of a school board couldn’t approve an agreement with employees; a 3/5ths vote would be required, meaning the board’s minority would control the majority. The amendment takes local control away from the board.
- The amendment would make it harder for school boards and school employees to work out fair agreements that would allow districts to deliver a good education for students and attract and retain quality teachers.
- The Illinois League of Woman Voters calls the amendment “undemocratic. It also is opposed by Protestants for the Common Good, Illinois Citizen Action and the state’s main teacher’s organizations, the Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation of Teachers.
All papers have word limits on letters to the editor, so check the paper’s website to find out what the paper’s limits are and how you can email your letter to the editor. Hurry. The election is November 6.
It’s worth noting that a number of high profile opponents of public employee pensions, including the Chicago Tribune and The Illinois Policy Institute, have come out against the proposal. Not because it’s the right thing to do, but because they believe passing the amendment would make it harder to take much stonger action against public employees later.
First things first. Let’s defeat this amendment, then be ready to continue to fight to protect pensions in the legislature.