Special message from the President, July 15, 2013

Dear member,

On Sunday, July 14th, Senator Dan Biss held a Town Hall Forum on the “Pension Crisis”. An estimated 300 people attended. I wish to thank the following AFSCME Retirees:

Leonard Thigpen
Walt & Ginny Esler
Dave Rolston
Mary Bennett
Jessie & Lynn Wilson
Lyon Leifer
Pat Houlihan
Mac Diggs
Pete Belestick

These were the members I was able to recognize in that large crowd. If there were others, thank you as well.

Senator Biss is absolutely right about the need for the state to find monies to balance the budget. He and many of the legislators are wrong in using SB 1 as a way to do it. For the next 16 months, it will be the work of every single AFSCME Retiree 161 member to do 2 things:

1).  Educate yourself, your family, and close friends about the costs to all of us of doing nothing about this Illinois budget crisis.

2).  Work to build a grass roots campaign for a Fair Tax Referendum on the November 2014 ballot.

In the days ahead, we will continue to build our Sub-Chapter’s strength. In the past, we have been able to block bad law. Now we must build voter support for change. We will need to build voter support for the legislators to pass a referendum ballot initiative by 2/3rds of both houses.

To achieve this, we will need new ideas, and more volunteers to carry them out. What we do not need are eloquent spokesmen for all the difficulties we will encounter. The difficulties will speak for themselves. We will be pragmatic. We will apply the lessons of our collective past. We will work together to create, test, and persevere in order to find the answer. This has been our policy and we appear to be learning and growing as we have used it these last three years. Look around you at the next meeting. Be proud of yourself and others. Yes, we are in good company. Yes, we are in a long hard struggle.

But there is no justice without struggle.

Charlie Hogan

PS: The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) will be meeting in Chicago next month.  We expect to  express our opposition to their agenda on behalf of all working people.  See below or at http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/Worker_Rights_and_Consumer_Rights We will discuss appropriate actions at our meeting at Ruby Tuesday’s on Wednesday July 17.

Alec 1

Alec 2

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