Tuesday, December 16, 2014

To the Illinois Education Association-Retired

It is our hope that members of the upcoming delegation do not readily condemn differences of opinion from those who question and challenge the IEA leadership, for there will be more significant issues confronting all of us. No more labeling disagreements as blatant “disloyalties,” no more vitriolic ad hominem attacks, and no more nonsensical “Lesser of Two Evils” arguments for choosing future candidates.  

We have been deceived by both democrats and republicans. We can no longer afford to endorse opportunistic politicians, especially when they have disregarded our constitutional rights and benefits. 

We are aware of the ugly liaison between politics and partnerships that supply exorbitant money.  This fact has always been evident. We know most Illinois politicians unscrupulously choose to ignore legal and moral solutions for the state's budget and pension problems.  

We know the current “rigged system” has compelled unions to donate, and sometimes waste, large sums of their membership’s money in order to compete in an absurd unrepresented democracy. We need to break from this corrupt system and work diligently at funding and endorsing independent, progressive candidates.  

We can expect the Illinois General Assembly will continue their assaults on our constitutional contract. Thus, we need a dynamic leadership with determination to “build the rank-and-file’s collective capacity to resist”: an association that will mobilize its membership against those among us who insist upon debasing our constitutional rights and benefits and public school teachers.  

We must be prepared to fight against the next onslaught and defend our pension benefits and rights without apologies, concessions or compromise; we must also defend our schools and our students from perverse corporate school reform. 

…Going forward… our longstanding commitment to work with anyone of good faith to develop a fair and constitutional solution to fund the state’s retirement systems,” must mean, unequivocally, a re-amortization of the pension debt and a reform and modernization of the state’s regressive single-rate tax structure to sufficiently address the funding of the state’s essential services and public retirement systems. “To work with anyone of good faith” on the State of Illinois’ revenue and debt problems is what union membership expects, not capitulation of constitutional rights and benefits that have been lawfully earned.

-Glen Brown