Latest Pension Video Update

The good news. 20,000 calls to legislators yesterday are making a difference
The bad news. We need to “RAMP IT UP”

http://www.ieanea.org/banner/pension-update-may-30-405-pm-call-now-to-protect-pensions/

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IEA Leadership has issued an Urgent Call to Action.

This is an urgent action alert.  House and Senate committees this morning are holding hearings that are intended to move pension-cutting legislation (SB 1673) quickly through the legislative process.

There is no time to wait.  We must urge members to call their legislators today.

The message:  Vote “No” on SB 1673.

Among other things, SB 1673:

  • Forces active employees who do not agree to a reduced COLA to lose access to health insurance.  In addition, the amount of salary on which their pension is based would be capped.
  • Does not include the guaranteed pension funding language that the labor coalition has asked for in order to consider other pension changes.
  • Reduces retiree benefits by offering a choice between either keeping the current COLA benefit but losing access to health insurance, or, agreeing to a reduced COLA while retaining access to insurance.
  • Calls for local districts to take over system payments currently made by the state (phased in).  This will put an even greater financial strain on local bargaining for all bargaining units.
  • Changes the balance on the TRS board by adding four new seats for members of local school boards.
  • Bars districts from bargaining the impact of any changes made by this law.

It’s imperative that every IEA member pick up the phone and call his/her representative and senator.  To be connected to their legislators, members should call:

(888) 412-6570

Again, do not wait.  Please activate your local networks now.

On behalf of all our members, thank you for your assistance in taking action.

Dave Jelliff, UniServ Director Region 38,

IEA Libertyville Office  847-932-4140

 

Pension Update from Cinda Klickna

Update on the fight to preserve our pensions – May 18 This week, Governor Quinn and the members of the General Assembly have received a loud and clear message from thousands of IEA members who have told them: Don’t “fast track” pension legislation. Only support constitutional proposals. We need a fair solution that doesn’t make employees bear the brunt of the cost of fixing a mess they did not create. As of Friday morning, more than 62,000 emails have been sent to lawmakers and Governor Quinn. In fact, the governor has received more than 20,000 emails himself! We are making a difference. We’re going to talk about actions for the coming days later in this email. Please read the entire message and then forward it to your colleagues. Influencing the process The labor coalition is having a big impact in the continuing pension discussions with top state officials. Just a few weeks ago, it appeared a bad pension bill might be quickly rammed through the General Assembly. By participating in pension discussions, the members of the coalition have slowed down the process. By offering input and suggestions about solutions, the coalition is forcing those proposing terrible ideas about pension changes to consider the consequences of their actions, as this Daily Herald editorial points out: But pitting teachers against taxpayers and schools against their communities won’t lead to an equitable solution. It could irreparably harm one of the suburbs’ most alluring attractions – the reputation for great public schools. The coalition is making a difference. Status report No pension bill was called this week. We still expect a bill to surface, perhaps next week. There are rumors that, because of the activism by members and the coalition participation in the pension talks, there might not be any pension legislation until the post election legislative session in November. We need to keep up the pressure to make that happen. What needs to be done We need to increase contacts with legislators. If you haven’t done so, please call your senator and state representative. If you get voicemail, please leave a message and call back later. Lawmakers are in their home districts all weekend. Call them at their district offices. See if you can make an appointment for an in-person meeting. More information is here. Activities next week Take your cell phone to work and call a legislator. Retired members and members whose school year has ended are encouraged to participate in Springfield lobbying with members of other coalition members. Contact your regional offices for more information. There is a good chance you will soon be receiving another automated phone call at home. This one will ask you to immediately contact your legislator about pensions. Pension talks/Talking points As stated above, the coalition, by participating in good faith in discussions with state officials, has slowed the “fast track” assault on pensions. Throughout the process, the IEA representatives have adhered to core principles that pension proposals must: Be constitutional. Be fair to employees. Have the effect of strengthening the pension systems. In our messaging about the ongoing talks, we have made clear that the coalition opposes ideas that would seek to make the employees bear the entire burden of fixing the pension crisis. That is a very important message for both policymakers and the public to hear. The message itself is, in part, a reaction to the governor’s pension proposal, which tried to make employees wholly responsible for fixing the crisis. IEA and the other coalition members know that there is nothing more important to so many of our members than making sure that they receive the pensions they have been promised. Given the condition of our state’s finances and the Illinois economy as a whole, the coalition believes that the employees, though they are blameless for the pension crisis, should be participants in the solution because participation will help bring about the best outcome for the members. We believe participation in discussions enhances the chances we will be successful in saving the pension systems. We believe the members of the General Assembly and the general public will be more supportive of our ideas for fixing the crisis if we are active participants in the discussions. The IEA member research shows our members agree with this approach; there is significant support for members doing more IF the result is that they get the pension they have been promised. In a scientific poll of 600 IEA members in February: 63 percent said IEA should try to negotiate changes in pensions to make sure that the worst proposals are avoided. 71 percent said they would support benefit changes if there were a new legal requirement that would ensure state government paid its share for pensions. Because of the irresponsible decisions of past governors and legislatures, Illinois’ budget is being consumed by pension costs, imperiling education, human services programs and other necessary state services. We believe that, if left to their own devices, policymakers will come up with terrible ideas for fixing the mess that will damage our members and the profession of teaching. Governor Quinn’s proposal is proof of this as is the fact that some policymakers want to cut benefits for current retirees. The coalition is offering ideas in order to find out if a constitutional and fair pension solution can be found that satisfies the need to get Illinois and the pension systems on better fiscal footing. The goal is to make sure every member gets the pension that has been promised. It’s important to understand that, of this writing, no agreements have been made that would affect member pensions. The coalition has offered proposals but, again, no agreements have been made. We’re making a difference. Thank you for everything you’ve done. Please keep it going and recruit your colleagues to get involved. The future for all of us is at stake.

Up to the minute…Pension Status Report

From: McBarron, Charlie
Subject: Status report on pensions for May 11 at 4pm (on behalf of Audrey Soglin and Cinda Klickna to all board, staff, GPAs)
Sent: May 11, 2012 5:00 PM

Colleagues:

This is a status report on the pension issue that is of such critical importance to IEA members.

It is highly likely that a pension proposal, in the form of legislation, will surface at the Statehouse next week. It’s very possible that, once introduced, a pension bill could move very quickly through the legislature. That is why  it is crucial that our members are active participants in this fight and that they contact their legislators immediately.

We are taking a number of steps to ensure we are prepared to act to defend our members’ pensions.

Robo calls to members
A robo call from President Klickna will be placed to all IEA members today. It will provide a “heads up” message, alerting members that pension legislation is imminent and members will be asked to contact their legislators.

A second robo call to all members could be placed throughout the next week. This call would have a more specific message and would urge immediate calls to legislators.

Call to action
A full-blown call to action is expected to be issued on Monday or Tuesday in anticipation of the pension legislation.

Talking points
By Tuesday afternoon, talking points that members can use for their contacts with legislators will be available to all members via the IEA website.

Statewide pension media campaign
The We Are One Illinois labor coalition (IEA, IFT, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, etc…) is launching a statewide media campaign aimed at defending pensions. The campaign, which is expected to include radio, TV and internet advertising, is being funded by the unions involved. IEA’s contribution comes from the IEA media campaign fund.

IEA professional staff meeting
The call to action is likely to impact many scheduled IEA events, including next week’s scheduled IEA Professional Staff meeting in Springfield.

It will be decided early next week whether it makes sense to go forward with a staff meeting in Springfield during what could be an intense week.

Stay connected
Please check the IEA website regularly for updates and encourage your colleagues and all members you meet with to do the same.

The Pension Battle Needs Your Participation

Cinda Klickna nameplate

 

Colleagues:

 

This is another in a series of updates on the pension battle that involves participants in TRS and SURS.

 

We are in the fight of our lives over public employee pensions in Illinois.

 

As you know, Gov. Quinn has proposed that state pension system participants be forced to choose between two new pension plans, both of which would diminish employee benefits.

 

To receive IEA support, a pension proposal must:

  • Be constitutional
  • Be fair to our members
  • Have the effect of stabilizing the pension systems

Since Gov. Quinn’s proposal is not in the form of legislation, many details are unknown. Still, we know enough to oppose it because, among other reasons, it unfairly attempts to “fix” the pension mess solely by reducing benefits for participants. The participants are blameless for the $85 billion underfunding problem at the heart of the pension crisis.

 

Ongoing pension discussions

 

IEA is a member of the We Are One Illinois coalition, along with IFT, AFSCME and other unions that represent public employees.

 

We Are One has been meeting with top policymakers, including Gov. Quinn, the governor’s pension workgroup and, more recently, with key legislative leaders, to discuss how the pension crisis should be addressed.

 

There is no legislation on the table. While the governor has said his proposal would not impact those who are already retired, there are proposals from others that seek to reduce retiree benefits.

 

Active and retired members are urged to contact their legislators immediately and tell them to oppose any attempts to reduce the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for those who are retired.

 

Call via the We Are One Illinois Hotline

Send an email through the IEA website

 

IEA, other coalition members and expert legal counsel, are actively participating in serious discussions with legislative leaders and other policymakers in Springfield.

 

The IEA principles will not change. The coalition has brought in legal specialists to help determine the constitutionality of any proposals that are placed on the discussion table.

 

Stay connected

 

There have already been a lot of rumors surrounding the pension discussions. For the most accurate information, check the IEA website regularly. Also, make certain that you and your colleagues have updated theirmember profiles. This will allow IEA leaders and staff to quickly deliver informational emails and possible calls to action regarding pension legislation.

 

Please stay connected to IEA and we will provide key information as soon as it is received.

 

There is no higher priority than protecting our members’ pensions. If we stay focused and stand together we can get the best result for our members.

Cinda signature

 

 

 

 

 

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Pensions…behind the scenes…

Pension Stalwarts.

This is Rich Miller’s Capitol Fax from last Wednesday (May 2nd). Sorry  for such “old news” but Rich’s take is exactly what I have heard…. IEA and IFT were so upset with The Governor’s Pension Committee negotiations style (They had none.).  IEA has left the table because the Governor’s Team was not negotiating.  So those of You who were worried that IEA and IFT was going to agree to a deal at “the table” you may not like — Don’t worry we are not at the table! The Governor (as we all know) went around his own negotiating team when they missed his date for an agreement and unilaterally put his proposal “on the table”.  Kind of like a Sshool Board President going around the association and the school board at contract negotiations time and proposing “His Contract/Solution”.
Miller’s view behind the scenes ….
BEHIND THE BRICK WALL     Depending on whom you talk to, private talks with public employee unions about reforming the state’s pension systems are either going fairly well or not so well at all.

The governor’s office is upbeat. “Good progress,” texted a spokesperson for Gov. Pat Quinn yesterday.   “In discussions with all unions with a stake in this.”   The Quinn spokesperson did not say what that “progress” was.   Legislators aren’t much more forthcoming.

The unions, for their part, aren’t talking at all.   I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tighter lid on any Statehouse negotiations than this one.   Nobody – and I mean nobody – in labor is answering questions.   Last night, a top labor leader I’ve known for years obliquely pointed to Gov. Pat Quinn’s press conference announcing his proposed pension changes as the way not to do things, then politely declined to discuss anything else.   About the only information we have is an Illinois Federation of Teachers posting on its website about how the union and its labor partners “continue to meet with involved parties to address our concerns and seek a reasonable solution to the pension crisis that will protect benefits for the long term.”   That ain’t much.

According to one very high-level, extremely well-placed source, however, the talks have been decidedly mixed.   AFSCME reportedly is open to some sort of deal, believing that preserving the pension fund’s long term viability is essential, while hoping to avoid planned and future employee layoffs.   But there’s been no real progress on big issues yet.

The two teachers unions are reportedly taking a hard line against any changes that even appear to be unconstitutional.   And they’re also reportedly keeping the Chicago Teachers Union out of the talks because the CTU is demanding that suburban and Downstate school districts start paying the employer pension contribution or that the state pick up Chicago’s employer pension contribution, which is well over $200 million a year.   Mayor Rahm Emanuel may be fighting with the CTU over its contract, but the two sides are reportedly in agreement on this issue and there’s a belief that, as a result, any pension deal which doesn’t include one of the two employer contribution provisions will not receive many, if any, votes from Chicago legislators.

The result is that there appear to be no results as of yet.   That top source glumly predicted a long summer legislative session if nothing breaks soon.   House Speaker Madigan’s proposal to essentially get rid of the government subsidy for retiree health insurance will be heard in Executive Committee today, and that’s seen as a potential club to hold over the unions to get them moving.   But, so far, they aren’t budging much, if any.

It’s always possible that some agreement could be reached by the end of May, or that the leaders could decide to jam through a pension reform bill in the coming days.   But the crushing Medicaid issue and the state’s other serious budget problems are going to take up a lot of time and energy this month, so any momentum on pensions might be lost very soon.


Contact- Questions?  Bob Haisman –708 997-1993 —  Gardenoprf@sbcglobal.net

Once in a while you stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened.    Winston Churchill

IEA President Message

Cinda Klickna nameplate

 

Colleagues:

 

First off, I want to thank everyone who has contacted me with comments, concerns and suggestions about the pension fight. Though it’s impossible for me to reply to every email I receive, I assure you that I read all of them.

 

There is no higher priority right now for IEA leaders and staff than protecting the pensions of our members. We are committed to getting every IEA member the pension that has been promised.

 

With IFT, AFSCME, SEIU and other unions that represent public employees, IEA is part of theWe Are One Illinois coalition We Are One Illinois coalition. The coalition is, with one voice, advocating for public employees by entering into discussions with Gov. Quinn and the leaders of the Illinois House and Senate.

 

We believe that those planning to draft pension legislation must hear the voices of the union members impacted by pension changes. If we aren’t in the room, our members’ voices will not be heard.

 

As you know, Gov. Quinn has put forth a pension proposalAn analysis by TRS is here.

 

The labor coalition, including IEA, opposes the governor’s plan.

 

This online petition, which is not sponsored by IEA, urges Gov. Quinn to leave teacher pensions alone.

 

Going forward

 

To ensure that the members of the coalition organizations are getting the best possible representation, the unions have hired top-flight attorneys who will help determine the constitutionality of Gov. Quinn’s proposal and all future proposals.

 

It’s important to understand that the governor’s proposal is just that, a proposal. It’s not a bill; many details are unknown and it’s impossible for the unions to answer many questions about the governor’s proposal.

 

Nevertheless, we’re urging IEA members to contact their legislators immediately to tell them to oppose the proposal and all unconstitutional pension proposals.

 

Send an email through the IEA website.

 

Be connected by phone with your legislator via We Are One Illinois.

 

Let me remind you of the IEA position on any proposal that would impact our members’ pensions:

 

To be supported by IEA, a proposal must:

  • Be constitutional.
  • Be fair to the participants in the pension systems.
  • Bring stability to the pension systems.

Colleagues, we are in the fight of our lives. Every IEA member needs to get involved.

 

It’s crucial that you:

 

Thank you for your activism. May will be a memorable month for IEA members. By standing together, we can get the best possible result for all the participants in the pension systems.

 

Cinda signature