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Thousands of IFT members fight for funding on statewide Day of Action

4/05/2016

CTU Thompson Center Crowd-1

Thousands of members from the Chicago Teachers Union (Local 1), the University Professionals of Illinois (Local 4100), other IFT unions, parents, students, and community groups capped the Day of Action with a massive rally at the Thompson Center in Chicago on April 1st.


From Lake County to Chicago to Belleville and many places in between, IFT members banded together in a show of strength and commitment during a Day of Action on April 1 to demand that Governor Rauner drop his irresponsible political priorities and pass a budget that serves all Illinoisans, not just the wealthy few. From every corner of the state and in one loud voice, we sent the Governor our undeniable message: Enough is enough - it’s time to fund our future!

It was a remarkable demonstration of collective action that garnered national media attention, as thousands of members took to the streets to rally at neighborhood schools and in downtown Chicago, at events and demonstrations at college campuses across the state, and in public schools and workplaces via social media.


Watch a photo slideshow of the Day of Action here.

AFT Randi visit

IFT members from Eastern Illinois University held an event in Charleston,
then traveled to Chicago to support members at Chicago State University.


In his speeches during "Fund Our Future" rallies on the Day of Action, University Professionals of Illinois (UPI), IFT Local 4100 President John Miller pronounced:
"The consequences of Gov. Rauner’s failure to fund critical programs is extending into every corner of our state, and we’re standing up together this week to say enough is enough.

“What we see happening in Chicago is unfortunately not unique to the big city. The governor’s vetoes and irresponsible refusal to pass a budget until legislators give in to his political demands have created a serious crisis.

“We are proud to stand together on this day of action and send a strong message to Governor Rauner,” Miller added. “It’s time to fund our future, not reward the most wealthy while everyone else suffers.”

Chicago Teachers Union, IFT Local 1, members held a citywide one-day strike on the Day of Action to draw attention to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Governor for their central roles in the financial crisis facing the city’s schools. And IFT higher education locals, including chapters of the University Professionals of Illinois (Local 4100), the Cook County College Teachers Union (Local 1600), the Federation of College Clerical and Technical Personnel (Local 1708), and the University of Illinois - Chicago (UIC) United Faculty (Local 6456) were among the IFT locals that proudly joined the fight for funding by organizing massive marches, rallies, teach-ins, and other community actions statewide to protest the Governor’s harmful actions and their devastating impact on thousands of higher education students and Illinois’ colleges and universities.

CSU Rally 3

Chicago State University is facing closure due to the Governor's inaction,
 and held a Day of Action rally to call on him to Fund Our Future.

Our voice was amplified by AFT members from California, Connecticut, Florida, New York, Ohio, and Texas who traveled here to join our fight, along with parents, students, and groups like the Fight for $15, Action Now, Black Youth Project 100, Jobs With Justice, and other labor and community groups that stood with us across the state.

AFT President Randi Weingarten fired-up Day of Action demonstrators at some Chicago neighborhood schools in the morning, then spoke to members and supporters rallying at Northeastern Illinois University.
"…All of us collectively do our jobs every single day to make a difference in our children’s lives. Most of the time we do it inside our classrooms, but today we have to do it outside our classrooms because people like the governor of this state won’t do his job," Weingarten told the crowd.


(Watch the video below to hear a clip from her speech.)
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Here's some of the speech AFT President Randi Weingarten just gave in Chicago to striking members. This is a fight for fully funded public education.

Posted by AFT - American Federation of Teachers on Friday, April 1, 2016

The Governor's disregard is harming us all, so IFT members outside of Chicago and higher education took to social media on the Day of Action to stand up for kids and communities in the fight for funding.

 
Local 763 Solidarity

Local 504 Lake Villa solidarity 3

IFT locals and councils from around the state flooded Facebook and Twitter with the #FightForFunding and #FundOurFuture messages like these from the Madison Federation of Teachers, Local 763, and the Lake Villa Council of Local 504.


There is no doubt that our voice was heard loud and clear last week - in the streets, in the media, and in Springfield. When we come together in our unions and our communities with a shared goal, our collective power is undeniable.

 

CTU Karen Lewis

Local 1 President and IFT Executive Vice President Karen Lewis
with students, parents, and members outside a neighborhood school
during CTU's one-day strike.

As CTU President and IFT Executive Vice President Karen Lewis told the crowd at the Day of Action rally at struggling Chicago State University:
"This is not a moment. Brothers and sisters, this is a movement," Lewis said.
Let’s keep it going strong! Have one-on-one conversations with your colleagues, family, and friends about how Governor Rauner's political agenda is harming our communities, and seize opportunities like participating with your local or council in the second round of May 4th walk-in events being held statewide. Read about previous walk-ins here, then learn more about how to help your local or council participate in May.

Together, we can pressure the Governor to do his job and serve all Illinoisans, not just the wealthy few.


Read more about Day of Action events:

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