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Geneva Teachers Stand Up. That’s My Girl!

Casey Woodruff

My law firm has had a close working relationship with organized labor since I began my career over 28 years ago. I have represented union workers injured at work from almost every type of employer and every Illinois union. We have been a recommended law firm of union leadership and its members for several locals of the United Auto Workers, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Illinois Education Association, Service Employees International Union, United Food and Commercial Workers, Federation of Police, Boilermakers, Carpenters, Pipefitters, Masons, Laborers, and countless others.

Growing up, my kids learned certain things. First, mom and dad always drove American, union-made cars. Second, workers have a right to organize and bargain collectively. Many forget that unions brought us the five-day work week, minimum wage, health and safety protections in the workplace, and the earliest tools to thwart discrimination and harassment. Many of these things are taken for granted, but at some point during our nation’s history a battle was won by union labor to provide these protections for all employees.

One of the closest relationships my law firm has maintained is with the Illinois Education Association. Two years ago my daughter, Kate, graduated and entered the workforce as a high school English teacher at Geneva High School, and a proud IEA member. Two weeks ago her union went on strike seeking better compensation. They won. I was pleased that the union chose her as one of the young teachers to speak to reporters side-by-side with her union leadership. She spoke eloquently, will always fight the just fight, and makes me proud to say she is my daughter.

Unions continue to play an important role in our society and economy. Those that question their utility forget our history and how we got here. As Martin Luther King told us, “The labor movement did not diminish the strength of the nation but enlarged it. By raising the living standard of millions, labor created a market and lifted the whole nation to undreamed levels of productivity.”

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