Why am I Marching?
Monthly thoughts from individuals who attended the Women’s March on Washington in January

By Diana Carlile

When I was in high school, I started working at Illinois Bell in Springfield through a co – op program. I am proud to say that it turned into a 33-year career. When I started at Illinois Bell, I also joined the IBEW and became an active union member. My union job allowed me the opportunity to provide for my family. I was a working mom with no college education. Thanks to my fair wages, benefits and support from my union, I could send both of my children to college.

Over my entire career, I went through three corporate mergers and four company changes. Thankfully I continued to work in the same building. AT & T closed my office in Springfield due to downsizing. I could retire because of my years of service and the benefits that my union fought for. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in our country.

I attended the Women’s March on Washington because I wanted to stand up for the working mom’s like me. Donald Trump has repeatedly said that he is in favor of Right to Work. Mike Pence led the charge for Indiana to become Right to Work. Bruce Rauner seems hell bent on breaking the public employee unions so that he can push through Right to Work.

Being a union member provided me fair wages, benefits and safe working conditions. Right to Work would strip these basic rights. I believe that I needed to step up and make my voice heard. Working men and women are under attack in our country and in Illinois. My resolve to the union movement and to my brothers and sisters is stronger now because I attended the Women’s March. I am ready to take the fight to Trump and Rauner to make sure that Illinois and our country does not go for Right to Work.

Diana is an Executive Board Member of the Springfield and Central Illinois Trades and Labor Council. She is also a Democratic candidate for Chatham Township Trustee and serves as the Labor Chairwoman for the Sangamon County Democratic Party.