Quinn signs bill undermining pensions for non-teaching workers... Chicago Teachers Union quick to express outrage over latest insult to former supporters of the incumbent Illinois Governor

Less than a week after Illinois Governor Pat Quinn made a dramatic plea to nearly 800 delegates at the June 4, 2014 meeting of the Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates, Quinn won praise from the Chicago Tribune and the "one percent" by signing a bill into law that takes away large amounts of pension benefits from municipal workers covered by the Municipal Employees' Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago. Those whose benefits will be cut if the law is held to be constitutional include thousands of clerks, teacher assistants, and others represented by the Chicago Teachers Union. "The CTU represents 4,000 active members and thousands of retired members in the Municipal Employees' Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago (MEABF), and was not part of any negotiation with the City of Chicago in the creation of SB1922," the CTU stated.

Front Page of the Chicago Sun-Times of June 10, 2014 indicates that Quinn signed the legislation reducing municipal worker pensions in Chicago, but only after Mayor Rahm Emanuel withdrew a proposal to increase Chicago property taxes. Quinn made no apologies for joining in the attack on public workers pensions. The June 9, 2014 announcement that Quinn was signing into law the attack on the pensions of the city's non-teaching workers came as the second of a "one-two punch" insulting those who had elected him in the hotly contested razor thin election in November 2010. Quinn won only three counties in Illinois in order to beat Bill Brady, the Republican candidate, and only was able to squeak through on that thin margin because the Chicago Teachers Union reversed an earlier neutrality position on the governor's race as a result of a request by CTU president Karen Lewis, who told the unioin's delegates that Brady would be a disaster for Illinois. (Disclosure: I gave a major speech in the House of Delegates in October 2010 on behalf of the changing of the endorsement position, and was criticized by many for having done so).

The June 2014 signing of the pension law is viewed by many who had previously supported Quinn as "adding insult to injury to..." (unprintable).

Quinn had already selected one of America's most infamous teacher bashers and union busters as his running mate.

in November 2013, Quinn had insulted the union and its leadership by secretly arranging to make corporate school reform figure Paul G. Vallas his running mate. Quinn selected Vallas without telling the union's leaders less than one week after the union honored him at the annual LEAD dinner in November 2013. Vallas, whose entire career in education has been dedicated to the privatization of public education, the expansion of charter schools, and a relentless propaganda campaign against public school teachers and unions, was "on the ropes" after the citizens of Bridgeport Connecticut went against him last Fall. Quinn's decision saved Vallas's career.

Quinn has not explained why he signed into law a bill that impacts to many members of the union he begged for support at the meeting of June 4, 2014.

The CTU was quick to respond to Quinn's action and the rationale the governor gave for it. In a press release the union stated:

CTU on SB1922 signing: "Emanuel's Law is another slap in the face to the citizens who put the governor and mayor in office."

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Stephanie Gadlin. June 9, 2014 312/329-6250

CTU on SB1922 signing: "Emanuel's Law is another slap in the face to the citizens who put the governor and mayor in office."

CHICAGO-The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is greatly disappointed at the signing today by Gov. Pat Quinn of Senate Bill 1922, a proposal by the mayor of Chicago that will cut the retirement savings of thousands of city workers and school employees, and a slap in the face to the citizens who put the governor in office. The Union maintains that this short-sighted proposal does not, in any way, solve Chicago's pension problem, and is just another attack on communities and citizens who continue to be victims of draconian policies out of Springfield and the fifth floor of City Hall.

The worker retiring today under this "Emanuel's Law," earning an average of $23,000 a year will lose nearly $10,000 in earning power within twenty years. In 2034, this retiree's pension 20 years from now will only be worth $15,982 per year in today's dollars - a pension in 2034 that is worth $7,018 less than the retiree's pension today. She will lose more than 18 percent of her total pension over 20 years.

This is nothing more than continued disinvestment in our city, neglect of public employees and the straddling of taxpayers who must bear the brunt of this so-called pension crisis instead of those who crippled our economic system in the first place. CTU members do not receive social security benefits and therefore must absorb the expense of all future health care costs.

"We have to call this what it is-which is theft-because these people are stealing from dedicated city workers like the paraprofessionals in our schools," said CTU President Karen Lewis. "Instead of any accountability for those who actually caused this problem, Emanuel's Law brutally attacks the people who are most vulnerable, our seniors and municipal employees who remain on the frontlines in our city."

The CTU has called for various revenue proposals to not only eliminate the pension debt but also provide critical resources for neighborhood schools, including a LaSalle Street Tax of $1 per financial transactions such as stocks, bonds, currency, futures and credit default swaps. In addition, the Union supports a 1 percent commuter tax which could draw $350 million every year; and, changes to the city's controversial TIF program.

Under "Emanuel's Law, school clerks, teachers' aides and support services staff will join nurses, cafeteria workers and librarians in losing a third of their retirement life savings. "It is time public employees stop shouldering the burden of a shortfall created by politicians, corporations and the elites in Illinois who refuse to pay their fair share of taxes," Lewis said. "This was an opportunity for Pat Quinn to stand up for everyday citizens instead of standing in the gap for the mayor and his well-funded pension reform allies."

The CTU represents 4,000 active members and thousands of retired members in the Municipal Employees' Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago (MEABF), and was not part of any negotiation with the City of Chicago in the creation of SB1922. The Union will continue to vigorously fight this attempt at pension heist as part of the We Are One Chicago coalition and will support litigation to challenge the new law.

[The Chicago Teachers Union represents 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools and, by extension, the students and families they serve. CTU, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, is the third largest teachers local in the country and the largest local union in Illinois. For more information visit CTU's website at].


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