-By Ken Previti. Ken’s blog can be found here.
The Little Giant that began the legal suit to the Illinois Supreme Court that successfully defended the constitutional rights of retired Illinois teachers’ pensions met with those retirees who presently live in Florida. I attended the Sarasota meeting in mid-February, and was pleased to hear their repeated promise. “We will go back to court in the event that any of our benefits are threatened,” stated IRTA President David Davison.
While the Illinois Education Association, NEA/IEA, had pushed hard to support SB2404, which would have surrendered some of our constitutionally protected rights and benefits, our little non-union affiliated IRTA hired lawyers to take the case to the Illinois Supreme Court rather than agreeing to diminish our incomes without a challenge. At the time, Illinois had a Democratic governor and a super-majority Democratic House and Senate. Corruption and attacks on teacher pensions have no political party affiliations.
The NEA/IEA then joined with the other We Are One Illinois (WAOI) coalition of unions to support the challenge to active and retired teachers’ income. Together we won.
IRTA Executive Director Jim Bachman elucidated the ongoing plans to actively support political candidates who support teachers and their earned compensation, our pensions. Included in his comments are the next General Election facts of life.
“Of the nine members facing a General Election [for Illinois Senate seats], six of them have stood by the IRTA and defended our members when necessary. (Tom Cullerton, Laura Murphy, Melinda Bush, Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Scott Bennett and Gary Forby).
We are asking to provide financial support to the nine members listed above with Primary and General Elections.”
David Davison was surprised, as was I, to see how few retirees in the room had ever visited the superb IRTA Site or the Illinois Retired Teachers Association Facebook page. In the second half of the second decade of the 21st Century, retirees must learn to help themselves defend their own incomes by using sources beyond corporate controlled TV news and newspapers. Davison encouraged members to visit the IRTA site for their own good.
I was glad to see the presentations that were given a thousand miles away from the Illinois home I once lived in. The IRTA has a list of the various state visits on its site.