July 12, 2018

“Fraud”: Anti-worker Illinois Policy Institute caught again using phony photo

The anti-worker, anti-union Illinois Policy Institute funded by Bruce Rauner and the Koch Brothers has been caught again misusing the photos of longtime AFSCME members who are angry about IPI’s deceptive tactics.

AFSCME Local 2806 president Darneice Cooper blew the whistle on IPI falsely misappropriating her picture earlier this week. Now two more members, Rosa Holder and retiree Velma Henderson, have caught IPI in the same phony act.

IPI stolen photo“I was very upset,” says Holder, a rehabilitation case coordinator in the Department of Human Services who's shown on the right. “No one got our permission to use our photos or identity. I felt it was a fraud. It appears that I’m with the Illinois Policy Institute, but I don’t have anything to do with them, and I’m very happy as the union member that I am.”

In fact, Holder has been an AFSCME activist for decades, even serving on the executive board of her local. She started working for the state in 1967, before employees had a union. Since then, she says, “It’s better all around. Salaries are consistent and benefits are better.” If Rauner and the IPI succeeded in breaking the union, “the employer could do whatever they wanted and the employees would suffer.”

A retiree since 2008, Henderson is angry, too. “I don’t support what they’re doing and I think they’re defaming my character,” she says.

Of IPI’s excuse that they bought the image from a news organization that took the photo at a union rally in 2012, she responds, “I don’t care who the picture is owned by. I don’t think anybody has a right to put my picture on something I don’t support. I remember that march in Springfield. I didn’t do that to have someone use my picture when they’re trying to break the union.”

Both Holder and Henderson want younger members to understand the importance of sticking together with AFSCME.

“If enough people start to get out, there would be no union,” Henderson says. “Saving a few dollars isn’t worth it because the union is your protection. As a steward I would fight for the members like Muhammad Ali.”

“With the union, there’s no discrimination,” Henderson adds. “Nobody has to tell me because I lived it. I was born in Mississippi in 1947. I grew up on a plantation, picking and chopping cotton until I was 17, and my mother scrubbed the floor in the white man’s house. When I got out of high school and came to Chicago, I had to sit in the back of the bus. I know what it is not to be able to do what you want and say what you feel. Having a union gives you that freedom.”

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