Later this month a group of old guys will get together for a celebratory lunch.
We celebrated last May as well.
What is there to celebrate about these days?
The value of real resistance.
Two years ago this month, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the legal and moral obligation of the state of Illinois was to adhere to the explicit language of the law when it comes to state worker pensions.
Our small group had been speaking, blogging and organizing for years against Democratic and Republican politicians, powerful corporate interests, and struggling with our own state union leadership. Our own unions leaders were quite ready to throw retirees under the wheels of any heavy vehicle driving by when it came to protecting our pensions.
We were not the only ones saying no. But we were few.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever does,” said Margaret Mead.
The leadership of the Illinois Education Association cancelled our Lobby Day scheduled for this day in 2012.
Park Ridge Education Association local members were mystified. It was like our union was quitting and running right in the thick of a battle.
So we spent our own money for a bus , filled it with teachers, printed up some t-shirts, paid for substitutes and wrote our lesson plans and went to Springfield in spite of the fact that our state union leaders told us not to.
Of course, we had no help from the IEA.
We collared legislators and tried to talk to Governor Quinn.
He wouldn’t see us.
Because he sold us out on pensions, he’s not the governor any more.
The legislators, some who now aspire for higher office, wouldn’t listen and voted against us.
But in the end, we won.
And that is what is worth remembering and celebrating this month.