Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Union Power?

Will Unions Truly Challenge the Power Structure?
By Jim Vail

The talk for quite some time is how the Chicago Public Schools is facing a $1 billion deficit because of the pension payments.

A little known fact is that the city should have been paying into the pension fund, but the former mayor Richard Daley - himself a recipient of a lush quarter million dollar pension - decided to divert the funds to other pet projects like privatizing jobs.

Daley got a state law passed with republican support to no longer mandate that tax payer monies go straight to the teachers pension fund. The Chicago Teachers Pension Fund is currently urging people to support a bill that would bring this back.

My question is how did Daley do this? Did not the unions scream bloody murder?

I don't know enough. Unfortunately, I am a teacher and a blogger, and not a reporter who could do more research and ask questions.

My suspicion is unions, like any political entity, need to make deals and go along to get along.

Like endorsing political candidates such as Illinois house speaker Mike Madigan who is working on deals to cut teachers pensions.

In the Chicago Teachers Union May newsletter, under the heading 'Responding to Bruce Rauner's Budget Address,' Chicago Teachers Union communications director Stephanie Gadlin and political researcher and lobbyist Kurt Hilgendorf write that one of the only equitable solutions to the budget crisis is to "assist municipalities' finances by pledging to withhold state business from any bank that refuses to renegotiate toxic interest swaps."

How about going one step further in this suggestion.

I raised the issue, but not yet on the floor of the CTU House of Delegates, to organize CTU members to pull their money out of the banks that are recipients of this toxic interest payments robbing our schools. That's almost 30,000 members.

Is that too much to ask? Is the union serious asking Rauner to boycott doing business with banks that refuse to renegotiate toxic interest rate swaps and not first show by example?

The banks are too big. The banks have flat out robbed this country after the subprime disaster in 2008. 

But rather than sending banking officials responsible to prison, the banks just got bigger.

And now they want our pensions!

If the unions are serious we will take them on as we are asking Mr. Rauner - who is one of them - to do.

I say pull your money out of these institutions. We are big enough and strong enough to do it.

And that notion should probably start with myself since yours truly has his savings in one of those very institutions.

Like the old saying, "You can talk the talk. But can you walk the walk?"  

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