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NEWS

Moving forward TOGETHER in 2022

After nearly two long, difficult years with the pandemic, I know we all hoped for a much smoother and healthier start to the New Year. Unfortunately, the Omicron variant has reared its ugly head with a vengeance, making the early days of 2022 more stressful than we could have imagined. Still, there are many reasons to be optimistic about the coming year and I’m choosing to focus on the positive, despite the challenges.


Although we’ve seen the new variant is the most transmissible thus far, thankfully the availability of life-saving vaccines for school-aged children and adults has dramatically reduced the rate of severe illness, death and hospitalization among those who are fully vaccinated and boosted. (If you and your eligible family members are not, I urge you to become so!) Combined with regular testing, proper masking and other safety precautions, I am hopeful that the vaccines will help us avoid lengthy closures of schools and workplaces during this surge. I continue to be thankful for President Biden’s and Governor Pritzker’s firm leadership and the amazing doctors and scientists who made the vaccines

possible in record time.


Despite the ups-and-downs that we will continue to face, I believe many of us are ready to cautiously look ahead. For me, that means thinking about the amazing opportunities for us as IFT members in 2022.


The most important of those is our chance to pass the Workers’ Rights Amendment (WRA) in November. The WRA - formally known as Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 11 - would amend the Illinois Constitution to guarantee the fundamental rights of workers to unionize and collectively bargain. Put simply, the WRA would increase worker power.


How? The WRA would prevent Illinois from passing any state law or local ordinance “that interferes with, negates, or diminishes the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively over their wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment and workplace safety.” That means the WRA would permanently ban the passage of any

so-called “right-to-work” laws in our state, which are designed to reduce worker rights and benefit big corporations. Every worker in Illinois – current union members and future ones alike – deserve this fundamental fairness.


Please watch your inboxes and future issues of Union Link for more information about how you can help get this critical amendment passed.


The upcoming session of the Illinois General Assembly will also provide us with new opportunities to advocate for legislation that benefits students, citizens, and our members.


Just think of what else we can accomplish in the upcoming session and beyond! Starting in mid-January, keep an eye on the IFT website at ift-aft.org for weekly legislative updates.


Finally, I’m excited to announce that we’ll be holding the 2022 IFT Convention in-person from October 21-23 in St. Louis. This year’s theme is simply “TOGETHER,” and it couldn’t be more appropriate! I look forward to hosting an energetic and inspirational event where IFT leaders, delegates and guests can reconnect, highlight members’ extraordinary efforts and contributions, renew the focus on our collective goals, and envision what we can achieve by working as one. Local leaders have already received preliminary details about the event and more information will be coming soon. Stay tuned!


These are just a few of the highlights in store for the year ahead. I hope you’re looking forward to them as much as I am and have given yourself permission to feel optimistic once again. After your extraordinary efforts over the last two years, no one deserves it more.


Thank you for all you do.



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