12 Days of Unionism

As we have been getting closer to the holiday season it’s been extremely busy and stressful. I know you all can relate!! The truth is I just haven’t been able to keep up with the daily posts, but I don’t want to miss sharing these important reminders so here we are…catching up with days 1-8.

πŸ”” We have more work to do…please go to www.iearespect.org to see how we can advocate and bring the change we need so members can get the compensation and rESPect they deserve.

πŸ”” Unionized workers make 20 percent more than nonunion workers. And unions significantly reduce the wage gap for women, people of color and other minority groups.

πŸ”” In 1983, the IEA worked with the General Assembly to pass the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act (IELRA) which gives Illinois educators the right to organize and collectively bargain.

πŸ”” Prior to the IELRA, it was ILLEGAL for educators to go on strike. Members would often end up in jail – just for using their voice to advocate for a fair contract.

πŸ”” Your personal information is protected by law, thanks to the IEA. It is illegal for school districts to provide your private information, even when someone files a FOIA to get it.

πŸ”” In 2019, the IEA helped pass Senate Bill 1794 into law. The law prohibits employers from disclosing the following information of any employee: home address, DOB, personal phone number and email, union membership status and communications with labor organizations.

πŸ”” IEA launched the rESPect campaign to improve the economic conditions for Education Support Professionals (ESPs) – nurses, secretaries, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, mechanics, cooks, custodians, library aides and others.

πŸ”” We are advocating for higher wages, affordable health insurance, a Tier 2 pension fix, and opportunities for growth.

πŸ”” Have you taken the pledge? Voice your support: bit.ly/IEArespect

πŸ”” The IEA worked to make sure the right to collectively bargain was added to the Illinois Constitution. Voters passed the Workers’ Rights Amendment this November. It means our right to collectively bargain our wages, pensions, hours, working conditions and so much more are now protected and enshrined in the Illinois Constitution.

πŸ”” IEA looks out for your quality of life, ensuring your contract provides for work/life balance and good, affordable healthcare.

πŸ”” In 2022, the IEA passed a law to help support staff and teachers/professors who had exhausted their sick and personal time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The law provided COVID administrative days for all employees to use for any COVID-19 related reason and also offered paycheck protection to hourly employees in the event their school should close.

πŸ”” Education is the only profession that received COVID administrative days.

πŸ”” Due to efforts by the NEA, over 360,000 educators and public service workers have received $24 billion in student loan forgiveness through the Limited PSLF Waiver. Working to cancel student debt not only provides relief to current educators, but also makes higher education more accessible for aspiring educators.

πŸ”” Drafted by the IEA, HB 12 has expanded coverage of the Family and Medical Leave Act to thousands of education support professionals (ESPs) across the state.

πŸ”” Previously, to be eligible for FMLA an employee must have worked 1,250 hours during the previous year. This disqualified many ESPs due to the limited number of days they are able to work during a school year. HB 12 reduces the minimum threshold to 1,000 hours, so that more ESPs can qualify.