Union blasts Pat Quinn after governor betrays PSRPs with pension 'reform' signing

The Chicago Teachers Union leadership tried to be polite to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn by allowing Quinn, who had requested it, to speak and answer questions at the union's June 2014 House of Delegates meeting. Wisely, Quinn did not bring his running mate, corporate reform hack Paul G. Vallas, whose presence near the union would have prompted a major walkout. And after telling my fellow delegates that I would walk out because of Quinn's slap in the face with the Vallas selection, I decided to stay and hear what the governor, whom we elected, had to say to us.

Chicago Teachers Union President Pat Quinn (above center) received a polite reception from the 800 members of the Chicago Teachers Union at their June 4, 2014 meeting. CTU President Karen Lewis's support for Quinn in November 2010 turned the tide in Quinn's favor, as Quinn partly admitted when he noted that a week before the November 2010 voting polls had Quinn's opponent leading by double digits. A last minute surge of support from Chicago teachers turned the tide in Quinn's favor, as Quinn won the governorship with a majority in three counties out of 101 in Illinois. Under tough questioning by CTU organizer Brandon Johnson (above right) Quinn tried to joke about his selection of Paul G. Vallas as his "running mate" -- actually telling the teachers and other union members that the post of Lieutenant Governor was sort of meaningless, but never explaining why he picked a union busting national leader of the corporate attack on public schools. CTU photo.Quinn waffled, to say the least, repeating some of his tag lines about being a govenor of the people and not the big money and other stuff like that. And as a dozen PSRP delegates held up signs demanding that Quinn not do so-called "pension reform" on their backs, Quinn spoke nicely to union leader "Roberta..." The issue the PSRPs were highlighting was SB1922, the "reform" aimed at municipal workers in Chicago.

And then, less than two weeks later, stabbed "Roberta..." and thousands of others in the back by signing SB1922. The law cuts benefits for the Municipal Employees Pension Fund without improving revenues to fully fund the pensions. The Illinois General Assembly adjourned without taking up teacher pensions in Chicago, but by the second week of June 2014, Quinn had "reformed" state teacher pensions and Chicago municipal worker pensions by cutting both without listening to union leaders' demands that the state raise revenues by taxing the wealth of the state's richest citizens and restoring (in the case of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund) the tax line which had kept the Chicago teachers fund solvent for more than 100 years!

And so after Quinn signed SB1922, the gloves came off. And Substance will continue to provide our readers with regular (at least once a week) VALLAS WATCH updates so that voters do not get amnesia about the vicious 20 years of attacks on public schools and unions by Quinn's running mate.

CTU on SB1922: "Another slap in the face to citizens who put the governor, mayor in office.


CHICAGOThe 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 Emanuels Law, earning an average of $23,000 a year will lose nearly $10,000 in earning power within twenty years. In 2034, this retirees pension 20 years from now will only be worth $15,982 per year in todays dollars a pension in 2034 that is worth $7,018 less than the retirees 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 iswhich is theftbecause 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, Emanuels 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 citys controversial TIF program. Under Emanuels 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.

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June 17, 2014 at 10:45 AM

By: Margaret Wilson

Pension Reform

Teachers, support staff, ect. have waited too long for CPS and the state to contribute their fair share to our pension. We should not have to wait any longer for the Board and all others to do what's right.

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