Illinois Retired Teachers Association. The little train that could.

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Illinois Retired Teachers Association Bob Pinkerton making his final report as President to the state convention in Springfield.

About 360 delegates representing just short of 40,000 retired teachers are gathered today and tomorrow at a hotel in Springfield. The Illinois Retired Teachers Association meets every two years.

This is my fourth year as a retired teacher. The math is easy. This is my second state meeting.

I love this group.

The session started with a video tape of Gino DiVito, the lawyer who represented all the parties when he made the oral argument before the Illinois Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Senate Bill 1, the pension theft.

But he and his firm were hired by IRTA with a defense fund of just over a half million dollars, donated in denominations of fives and tens.

DiVito crushed the arguments of the state’s attorney.

Bob Pinkerton, who has been president of IRTA during this crucial period, in a tone that is typical of the way things are understated by this group, reaffirmed the Associations commitment never to compromise on our pension benefits.

When the state coalition of public employee unions, including the IEA, worked out a compromise with Senate President Cullerton to give up retiree COLA benefits, it was the threat of a law suit by IRTA that threw a monkey wrench into those plans.

Many IEA retirees seem to be getting fed up with IEA leadership.

It turns out I’m not the only one not running as a retired delegate to the IEA RA this year.

The ballot will barely have enough candidates to fill all the delegate slots. In past years there have been nearly double the number of candidates as delegate slots.

With the IEA’s first-time use of electronic voting rather than mail-in ballots it will be interesting to see how many IEA retirees vote.

In the past the top vote getter would get just under 2000 votes out of 12,000 members.

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