CTU Working Closely with Madigan Pension Bill
By Jim Vail
Second City Teacher
The Chicago dailies are reporting that IL Gov. Pat Quinn is calling for yet another vote on the pension reform bill that was recently voted down.
The public service workers and teachers whose pension interests are represented by their unions are up against the corporate sector that paid to get politicians like the mayor and state reps elected to gut the pension system and tell everyone Illinois is broke.
The unions appear to be trying their hardest to stave off what appears to be the inevitable end of the public sector worker pension system in Illinois.
While the Illinois Federation of Teachers backs the Cullerton pension bill - that would give retirees a series of choices in which they could opt to reduce or delay their cost-of-living increases in exchange for keeping state-subsidized health insurance, the IFT opposes the Madigan bill - which would increase the retirement age and mandate increased contributions - which they say would seriously cut teachers' pensions.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who represents the business class hell-bent on destroying the current defined pension benefit plan, wants way more blood than Madigan is offering up at this juncture.
Therefore, unlike the IFT, the Chicago Teachers Union has not led any resistance against the Madigan bill, and in fact negotiated an extension of another two-year pension holiday for the Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Sources say speaker of the house Mike Madigan proposed his pension legislation to try and force the two sides to come together to discuss a solution.
"Both CPS and CTU 'agreed' to it with guns to their heads," an inside source said. "It failed because the mayor and others don't want to give (the CTU) that much. That is the reality."
If the CTU is willing to keep extending pension holidays, the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund is on its way to an early extinction.
The CTU did not return calls from Second City Teacher about the pension issue.
Of course, the mayor can play this game with a strong hand - most of the public do not receive a guaranteed pension, and he can threaten massive teacher layoffs (he already has), and increase property taxes, if the pension system for teachers isn't "reformed" (read: destroyed!)
Like I've been writing before, our pensions are doomed. Unless we organized a massive resistance, forget it.
Politics is an ugly game being played to perfection right now by those with all the money. The unions and workers and the rest of the people be damned.