Our trips to Macomb and Charleston yesterday were successful.Our group confronted Rep. Reggie Phillips in Charleston about funding for EIU and higher ed in general. He insisted that he is pushing for higher taxes and for higher education, and we need to hold him to that and more. He avoided some hard questions and insisted that we need to have funding before we can spend on higher ed, but Katy Smithasked a great question–what are you doing to secure funding?–to which he had no answer. Others asked about a progressive income tax rather than more regressive sales taxes to fund the spending we need, and he dismissed those out of hand. We also canvassed in a few neighborhoods, and it was encouraging to talk to some of Phillips’ constituents in Charleston, most of whom see immediate funding as absolutely critical.
The group that went to Western didn’t get to see Rep Norine Hammond, but they had a similar day to ours, and both politicians heard our messages. Please help us make those messages louder by calling one or both politicians this week. Phillips: 217-348-1110 and Hammond: 309-836-2707
Tomorrow, May 18, there is an AFSCME-led rally in Springfield titled “Rauner is Wrong,” and you can find more information on that here
http://www.afscme31.org/news/rauner-is-wrong-march-rally-in-springfield . This will be one of the biggest rallies in Springfield that we have seen, and any support we can offer will help.
Finally, next Wednesday, May 25, there will be a major event at McDonald’s headquarters in Oak Brook, IL where the annual trustee’s meeting is being held. Fight for $15 will provide us with a bus if we have 25 committed people ready to go. Seven of us went to a Fight for $15 rally last week, and we were among about 30-40 groups there, all of whom were asked to answer the following question: If McDonald’s paid living wages, what could the state do with the $378 million dollars it now provides to McDonald’s employees who live below the poverty line? That is, if the tax payers were not subsidizing McDonald’s to the tune of $387 mil to help their employees live, what could we do with that money?
A rep from UIC mentioned funding MAP grants, and I talked about using the money to secure the existence of programs in Illinois that are being threatened (Women’s and Gender Studies, LLAS, African American Studies, Philosophy, and more) because they may have a low number of majors or aren’t “practical” enough for the new corporate university.
The rally was productive and inspiring and reminded me of how much we share with McDonald’s and other workers who are simply expected to take what they get and shut up about it. Let’s get a group together for next Wednesday, May 25 to show McDonald’s and all the corporate giants and corporate politicians that we will not shut up and that we need change. Let me know if you are interested and thanks! Tim