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IFT members beat back bill to restrict collective bargaining

5/29/2015
Following calls from IFT members across the state urging a “no” vote, last night the Senate Executive Committee soundly rejected legislation that would have severely restricted collective bargaining rights. The vote on the bill (SB 1046, SA 1) was 6-11 and ensures the measure will not be addressed again this session.

“This is a terrific victory for IFT members and all workers in Illinois, and a testament to the power of collective action, ” said IFT President Dan Montgomery. “By speaking with one voice to lawmakers, we stopped a dangerous bill that would have stripped our fundamental rights and harmed kids, schools, and communities.”
 
SB1046, SA1 contained some of the most harmful aspects of Governor Rauner's “turnaround” agenda. It would have restricted public employees’ fundamental rights to bargain with employers over wages and pay equity, health insurance, maternity leave and child care benefits, evaluations, privatization of services, and more. It also included a property tax freeze, which would reduce desperately needed resources for local schools.
 
At yesterday's hearing, IFT Vice President Jane Russell testified against the bill, telling legislators a personal story about how collective bargaining allowed her and her colleagues to better serve students by negotiating smaller class sizes, professional development for teachers, and an educator voice on the curriculum committee.
 
“In our district Board of Education’s meeting room, a sign hung at the back of the room. In large wooden letters could be seen from any vantage point in the room, ‘What’s best for the kids?’ The collective bargaining we engaged in always circled back to that question, ‘What’s best for the kids?’ ” she said.
 
At public meetings around the state this spring, union members have turned out in huge numbers to speak out against the elimination of collective bargaining and other dangerous components of the Governor’s “turnaround” agenda. Counties and municipalities have overwhelmingly rejected these proposals.

Congratulations to all who stood together and helped beat back this harmful and misguided proposal!
 


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