CTU reaction to Pat Quinn's State of Illinois address... Theyre destroying the morale of the people who are actually doing the work and threatening the security of those who have already served. We call on the governor to end this pension heist.'

After Illinois Governor Pat Quinn delivered his State of Illinois address on January 29 2014, the Chicago Teachers Union issued a major policy statement, emphasizing that Governor Quinn continues to betray Illinois public workers by focusing on "pension reform" as defined by corporate Illinois. Theyre destroying the morale of the people who are actually doing the work and threating the security of those who have already served," said CTU President Karen Lewis. "We call on the governor to end this pension heist.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn betrayed the teachers and other public workers who had been key to his 2010 election when he continued to spout the corporate Party Line about so-called "pension reform" in his State of the State address. Quinn's decision to name the corrupt corporate stooge Paul Vallas as his running mate was done in secret, betraying even some of his staff and closest supporters. Former supporters are calling Quinn's policies ("pension reform") and choices (Vallas) as Quinn's political suicide decisions.CTU REACTS TO GOVERNOR QUINNS STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS


CHICAGO - In todays State of the State address, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn made multiple references to getting the job done and also claimed to have ended the culture of instability that existed in Illinois government. He highlighted the strides that the state has made in working with women and minority-owned businesses. The problem is that his claims about the benefits of education reform and championing an agreement on comprehensive pension reform dont meet any of these tests.

Education reform as done in Illinois promotes instability and privatization, disproportionately and negatively impacts women and people of color, and makes it difficult for parents and educators to get the job done. The pension reform the governor cited as the tallest task of all is currently being challenged in Illinois Circuit Court by the We Are One Illinois coalition of labor unions for violating the pension clause of the Illinois Constitution, which states that a public pension is a contract that the State of Illinois cannot diminish or impair.

We stand in support with the teacher and service unions throughout the state who filed suit yesterday, as well as the more than 20 individual retirees named as plaintiffs. As we prepare to aggressively defend our own public pensions here in Chicago, we stand up for some of the most important people in our communitythose who have already served, paid a great debt to the people of our city and state and have paid into their pension systems only to be told they wont get the money they deserve.

There are many ways to solve the states economic problems, but these legislators insist on doing it on the backs of its workers by ignoring the pension heist and not taking into consideration the consequences to our communities, said CTU President Karen GJ Lewis. Theyre destroying the morale of the people who are actually doing the work and threating the security of those who have already served. We call on the governor to end this pension heist.

Teachers, paraprofessionals and school clinicians will join other municipal workers in a mass pension rally in Springfield on February 19. For more information visit



By Monique Garcia, Ray Long and Maura Zurick

Clout Street

7:16 p.m. CST, January 29, 2014

SPRINGFIELD A re-election seeking Gov. Pat Quinn used his State of the State speech Wednesday to declare that Illinois is making a comeback under his leadership and unveil a modest agenda of spending more on early childhood development and increasing the minimum wage.

The address marked five years to the day since Quinn rose to the states top post after Rod Blagojevich was ousted as governor, and his successor sought to illustrate how far Illinois has come since the state suffered its darkest moment.

We were facing an unprecedented triple crisis of government corruption, economic collapse and financial instability, Quinn said. But over the past five years, weve rebuilt one hard step at a time. And weve been getting the job done. Illinois is making a comeback.


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The Democratic governor touted passage under his tenure of a statewide construction program, ethics reforms, the legalization of gay marriage, private sector job growth and, most recently, an overhaul of the states debt-ridden public employee pension system.

But the four Republican candidates who want Quinn's job were quick to pounce, accusing him of painting an upbeat picture in an attempt to win votes and distract from the state's ongoing money mess.

Quinn offered few details about his agenda in a speech that may be more noteworthy for what it omitted than what it contained. He didnt outline the costs for his centerpiece Birth to Five initiative. He failed to mention that his new pension law is facing a barrage of lawsuits contesting its constitutionality. And Quinn did not address the fate of next years scheduled reduction in the state income-tax increase he signed into law in 2011.

Unfortunately, I think he doesnt quite get it, said Bloomington state Sen. Bill Brady, who is seeking the Republican nomination after narrowly losing to Quinn in 2010. Theres a lot of struggling for Illinois families. I think hes nave to think that hes going to get another (four) years.

As he seeks a second elected term, Quinn instead focused on a number of initiatives he said would help build the middle class. He renewed his call to increase the minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to at least $10, proposed requiring companies to give employees at least two paid sick days a year and declared his intent to expand early childhood education programs to include prenatal care for poor mothers. He also suggested doubling the money set aside for college grants for low-income students and increasing the earned income tax credit for low-income families.

Quinn offered few specifics on how hed achieve his plans. Instead, Quinn said a discussion of how to pay for them would have to wait until his Feb. 19 budget address.

We have a good plan, Quinn said as he exited the House chamber. We know how to organize. We work hard. My slogan is Hope for the best and work hard for it.

Quinns speech also avoided mention of how to overhaul Chicagos employee pension systems for teachers and public safety workers, which Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing as a way to ease a major shortfall. The omission was not unnoticed by the mayor, who said in a statement that in order to right our financial situation and secure our future, we must address the municipal pension issue.

Quinn, who is Catholic, quoted scripture and popular new Pope Francis in setting his priorities. But the speech only occasionally drew measured applause, though Democratic lawmakers clapped when he called for increasing the minimum wage. Republicans remained silent through most of the 40-minute speech, short compared to some of the governors earlier efforts.

Quinn first proposed hiking the state minimum wage during his address a year ago, but the effort didnt gain much traction. Hes hoping for an election-year boost this time around as President Barack Obama and Democrats across the country also push the issue in the mid-term elections.

Following the speech, Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, predicted a minimum wage hike would pass this year. But House Republican leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs said his members dont support it.

It's got ya politics, and that's unfortunate, Durkin said. They're going to use the minimum wage, you know, the Democrats in Washington are suffering, and I think their popularity through the country is waning, so they're going to use these issues to stir the emotions of the electorate, and I think that's unfortunate to use that situation and politicize it the way that they are going to do over the next year.

Business groups are lining up in opposition, contending it would hamper job creation.

If the cost of labor increases, employers are going to have a choice: raise prices across the board or get by with fewer employees, said Kim Clarke Maisch, Illinois state director of the National Federation of Independent Business.

Quinn sought to soften business opposition by proposing to cut the fee for filing as a limited liability company from $500 to $39 and creating a new position in his office that will focus on ways to improve the climate for small business in Illinois.

But the Republicans vying in the March 18 primary said Quinns initiatives fell way short of what needs to be done.

We have entered an economic death spiral, and Gov. Quinn is trying to cover it up and put a rosy picture on it, said Bruce Rauner, a venture capitalist from Winnetka. Rauner watched the speech from the House gallery, but did not offer his own fixes.

Added state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale: Pat Quinn has to have a press staff that has a lot of perfume to cover up the fact that national surveys say that Illinois will be dead last, dead last in job creation in 2014.

Meanwhile, Treasurer Dan Rutherford noted the political realities of the day.

The advantage of the incumbency and the State of the State is that you can cherry pick what you want to say and put out all the rosy things and, very candidly, avoid some of the hard stuff, said Rutherford, of Chenoa in central Illinois. With all respect to Gov. Quinn, things arent really going well right now.


March 12, 2014 at 9:57 PM

By: laura Bochonko

custodians going private

custodians are being pushed out of their school families like discarded trash.Schools depend on custodians for so much more than just cleaning.We here at Stone Acadmey have very strong bonds with eachother exspecially OUR KIDS !!!!We do not want to lose our custodians and niether do our kids

March 12, 2014 at 10:43 PM

By: Elisa Teodosi

local 73

Been trying to call my Union (Local 73)since I found out that CPS is making changes with custodial workers,left few messages but no one has returned my phone calls.I am paying my dues so I think would be only fair to get some response from Local 73.

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