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Time Is Running Out on One of the 'Victories' Won by CTU Leadership: the 'Retirement Buy-Out of Veteran Teachers' is not getting enough teachers to risk early retirement with medical and other benefits in danger...

Leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union announcing that they had pushed through their plan to avoid a strike in Chicago a month before the November 2016 general election. As the union's 26,000 members have learned the hard way all of the negative things brought to them in the new contract (which extends until June 30, 2019), more and more are demanding to know why the union's officers and staff utilized talking points and quickie votes to avoid a strike which would have won more than the union settled for. Now that the Who, What, When and Where are clear the only remaining question is "Why." Above, Left to Right: Michael Brunson (CTU Recording Secretary), Robert Bloch (CTU attorney), Maria Moreno (CTU financial secretary), Karen Lewis (CTU President), and Jesse Sharkey (CTU Vice President) announcing that the CTU would not go on strike in October 2016.On Tuesday, March 28, 2017, CPS officials sent out the memo (unsigned, but from the "Talent Office", see below) to try to get more veteran teachers to take the "buy-out" incentive that was included in the contract agreed to by the Chicago Teachers Union and approved by the Board of Education in October and November 2016. As CTU members remember, the early retirement "buy out" was one of the "victories" promoted by the union leadership as they were working hard to sell the least minute settlement that avoided the planned strike for the day after Columbus Day.

Other negative aspects of the deal have become more clear as the school year has progressed, but the retirement "buy out" has generally been ignored until now.

Based on the Board's March 28 memo (see below), it appears the CPS officials do not have the 1,500 veterans needed to implement this "great win" by CTU. In addition to other problems, the fact that Trump and Congress are messing around with health care has had an impact on those trying to decide if they want to retire in June 2017. With both Medicare and Medicaid facing challenges, a major issue for early retirees is whether they would have real health insurance if they retired early.

At the time they pushed through the contract settlement on the eve of the proposed strike, CTU leadership was willing to have 1,500 veteran teachers leave. There was no mention of the fact that schools would lose mentors for new teachers, clinicians and others with experience who were needed now more than ever. There were provisions in this contract article for paraprofessionals, and it is uncertain where that number to take the 'incentive' stand.

Readers can now contrast what the CTU has said and what CPS is now saying:

Here is the wording from the CTU web site FAQ on this:

Q&A on Retirement Incentive in the New TA

by CTU Grievance Dept., 10/19/2016

The Board is offering both teachers and paraprofessionals an incentive to retire at the end of this school year in June 2017. Here are answers to some of the questions you or other members may have.

Teachers:

How much is the incentive?

It is $1,500 per year of CPS service for teachers.

Who is eligible for this incentive?

Teachers hired by CPS or a reciprocal school system in Illinois before 1/1/2011 are eligible for a pension from the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund (CTPF) if:

They are 55 and have at least 33.95 years or

They are 60 and have at least 20 years or

They are 62 and have at least 5 years of service

If you are at least 55 years of age and have a minimum of 20 years of CPS service, you can retire with a reduced pension. This is a penalty which permanently reduces your pension. The penalty is calculated based on the number of months you are under the required age, with a total of 6% per year (30% for five years) being the maximum.

Anyone who is eligible for a full or reduced pension can take advantage of the Retirement Incentive offered in the CPS/CTU Contract once it is ratified. The effective date of your retirement would be June 2017.

How many teachers must elect to retire for it to go into effect?

The number of teachers required to activate the Retirement Incentive is 1,500.

What if I sign up and then not enough people choose to take advantage of the Incentive?

Unlike a typical retirement which is irrevocable, you will be able to rescind your retirement if the number of retirees is not reached and the Incentive is not offered.

CPS UPDATE MARCH 28, 2017...

Here is the CPS email to teachers received on March 28, 2017:

Dear Colleagues:

We are reaching out to update you on a change to the eligibility requirements for the CPS Teacher Retirement Program.

CPS and CTU have decided that teachers are no longer required to draw down their pension benefits at the time you enroll in the program, which means if you are under the age of 60, you may defer retirement until age 60, and if you are age 60, you may defer retirement at your discretion. However, teachers must still be retirement eligible by the time of resignation and teachers cannot be rehired into any role within CPS until their pension benefits have been drawn down.

Additional details on the program are listed below:

Incentives: CPS will pay a one-time non-pensionable lump sum bonus payment to eligible participants equal to $1,500 times their number of years of service.

Under this program, participants will continue to receive health care benefits through the end of the month in which they retire or resign.

Teacher Eligibility Requirements:

Must be a current Board teacher.

Must be employed as a full- or part-time appointed teacher, which includes regular teachers, special education teachers, temporary assigned teachers, related service personnel (clinicians) or counselors, but does NOT include cadre or DTD substitutes.

Teachers must be eligible to retire from the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund (CTPF). Teachers are advised to contact the CTPF to determine eligibility. (Teachers are not required to retire and draw a pension to participate in this program but must resign and be eligible to retire.)

Insurance benefits will continue until the end of the month in which teachers retire or resign.

Retirements/Resignations must be effective between June 23, 2017 and August 25, 2017.

A minimum of 1,500 teachers must enroll.* If the minimum number of retirements are not reached, per the agreement, the bonus payment will not be paid out and participants will have an opportunity to rescind their retirement without penalty.

How to enroll: To enroll for this program, please click on the following link to complete the Teacher Retirement IncentiveApplication: https://goo.gl/X6RuQx. Applications must be submitted to the Talent Office by March 31, 2017.

If you have already completed an application, you do not need to resubmit one unless you have changes to the application.

** PLEASE NOTE: The Board does not determine eligibility to retire and no Board employee is authorized to make any representations about an individual teacher's eligibility to retire. Only the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund (CTPF) makes this determination. Candidates for this program must consult with a CTPF representative to get a determination of their retirement eligibility prior to submitting a notice of intent to retire.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at retirementincentive@cps.edu.

Thank you,

Talent Office



Comments:

March 29, 2017 at 10:45 AM

By: Susan Hickey, LCSW

and CTU follows up with a colluding email!

CTU sent an email out to members pushing those that can to take the money and run. Why are they helping the 'boss man'? Here is the text of that email:

$1,500×YEARS OF SERVICE

As negotiated in the 2015­-19 contract, any person eligible to retire* at the end of this school year has until this Friday, March 31, 2017, to submit your intended date of retirement or resignation to the Board in order to take advantage of the one-time, lump-sum retirement incentive of $1,500 for each year of service. Your insurance benefits will continue until the end of the month in which you retire or resign.

In order to receive the benefit, at least 1,500 teachers must take advantage of the offer by March 31. However, if that number is not reached then teachers may rescind their resignation and retirement. This one-time offer is valid for anyone currently employed as a full- or part-time appointed teacher by the Board, which includes regular teachers, special education teachers, temporary assigned teachers, related service personnel (clinicians) or counselors, but does NOT include cadre or day-to-day substitute teachers.

In order to qualify, you do not need to retire and begin drawing your pension immediately, you only need to be eligible to retire between June 23, 2017, and August 25, 2017 and resign within that period.

Complete the Form

You must be logged into your CPS google account to access the form.

* The Board will not warn you if you are ineligible to retire and receive your pension. You must verify eligibility yourself by using the tools on the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund website and/or by contacting the CTPF by phone at 312-641-4464.

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