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Unions now have to face their members

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

* Statement by Michael T. Carrigan, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO, on behalf of the We Are One Illinois coalition…

“The union coalition has made a great effort to ensure fairness for the public employees and retirees who did not cause this problem, to ensure the stability of the pension systems for future generations, and to offer a credible way forward. This agreement is our coalition’s bottom line.

“We continue to strongly oppose Speaker Madigan’s mega-bill, SB 1, which threatens to rob the retirement savings of teachers, police officers, and others in public service, by 20-40 percent. His proposal is not only drastically unfair, but it is blatantly unconstitutional, rendering any advertised savings fictional.

“We urge lawmakers from both parties in both chambers to embrace the agreed bill and oppose SB 1.”

* From an IFT e-mail to its members

For the past several weeks, our union coalition has been meeting with Senate President John Cullerton to try to negotiate a pension agreement, demonstrating our willingness to share in the sacrifice and be part of the solution in the fairest way possible.

And finally, we have reached an agreement.

The agreement echoes our principles. It includes an ironclad funding guarantee, revenue by dedicating additional payments to the pension system, contractual protections for access to health care in retirement under several options, and limits the shared sacrifice asked of workers and retirees who did not cause this problem. You will find a full summary of the agreement here.

President Cullerton calls our agreement “credible” and “constitutional.” It represents our willingness to help stabilize our retirement systems, but remains our final, best offer.

* Glen Brown walks us through a bit of history

It wasn’t too long ago when John Stevens, Legal Consultant for the “We Are One” Labor Coalition stated: “To take away the Cost-of-Living Adjustment [COLA] for [current and future] retirees is not a free and fair choice. It is a coercive choice under duress.” Indeed, the concept of duress (or coercion) is a vitiating (legally defective) factor and; therefore, Illinois legislators are breaching a contract by forcing public employees to make a choice to diminish their originally-vested and paid-for guarantee (unless, of course, their guarantees are going to be “diminished” through “modification of contract principles” at the bargaining table).

Like previous legislators’ proposals, the impairment of the COLA for both active teachers and retirees in SB 2404 offers public employees no ethical and lawful alternatives except to consent to the General Assembly’s demands and choose between two illicit choices.

It is unlawful to induce undue pressure upon public employees to make an unfair choice. It is a blatant exploitation of influence to obtain an unwarranted advantage – an illegitimacy of the General Assembly’s advantageous attempt to renegotiate a constitutionally-guaranteed contract. Furthermore, the “ironclad” funding assurance for a COLA is uncertain.

It was a short while ago when the We Are One Illinois Coalition stated, “Although [a] bill contains a pension funding guarantee, it can be circumvented if a court finds it significantly imperils broad categories of other funding priorities… [Besides], it does not give employees a separate right to civil action and only provides permissive authority for the retirement systems to sue for payment.” There is no question whether legislators will renege on any new promise made to public employees. The question is how soon it will happen. Let’s not forget that policymakers can rewrite or undo any bill they pass. After all, they are doing it right now.

* And teachers union dissident Fred Klonsky is not happy at all

To be fair, I have also heard from some in the IEA who are telling me that we have to be pragmatic.

“This is the best the leadership could get. Crossing our arms and yelling ‘no” will get us nowhere.”

But this kind of pragmatism has a history.

It gave us the pension ramp in 1995.

It gave us the two-tier pension system. That royally screwed every teacher in TRS who was hired after January 1, 2011.

It gave us the Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) so the state would qualify for Race to the Top.

It gave us Senate Bill 7.

The horrible Senate Bill 7.

There is nothing pragmatic about this kind of pragmatism. Pragmatism means doing what works.

We have said all along that this is a revenue problem, not a pension benefit problem.

SB2404 does nothing to address the revenue problem.

Does anyone believe that a promise to fund the system without changing the way we raise revenue is a promise that will be kept?

The thieves in Springfield know, as they have always known, that the union leadership can be pushed to a point of fear and capitulation.

If the deal goes through? The state’s political leaders will be back again for more.

They always come back for more.

Because for them it always works.

They are pragmatic after all.

But each time we fall for it, it comes back to bite us in the butt.

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

55 Comments
  1. - Liberty First - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 9:51 am:

    Klonsky is right but the unions are between a rock and a hard spot from a PR standpoint. Someone will sue even if the unions don’t. I think this likely reflects the strong position unions feel over the insurance issue and winning suits. Score now with a willingness to cooperate, minimize damages and win lawsuits (someone else will file them and the union can provide legal assistance).


  2. - AFSCME Steward - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 9:51 am:

    Even though the pension mess is not the workers’ fault, I have always been willing to compromise. I think it is reasonable for me to contribute more of my paycheck to protect my earned pension. I have 33 years on the job. I will soon begin collecting the retirement I earned and planned for.


  3. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 9:52 am:

    Ahmen Brothe, the union heads are in bed with them!!


  4. - the Patriot - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 9:55 am:

    ==The union coalition has made a great effort to ensure fairness for the public employees and retirees who did not cause this problem==

    When you start with a false statement, you don’t have a chance. The unions have bargained for years to take raises instead of forcing proper funding of their pensions. They have across the board supported Madigan, Emil Jones, Cullerton, Blago, and Quinn. These men have created this problem, and by being the biggest force behind them, they have created the problem.

    I am for unions, but until they realize the democrat party is no longer the party of the working class, it is the party of the non working class, they will continue to be abused.

    The IEA supported Quinn because Brady proposed a 10% cut. Next year schools will operate on 15% to 20% less then when they cried about the Brady 10% proposal. The IEA signed off on SB 7 in a deal that left their pensions alone, now they are taking their pensions. Frankly if you are an IEA member and support an IL democrat, I am not sure you are smart enough to teach 3rd grade math.

    Most third graders can figure out after someone lies to you and beats you up 3 or 4 times, you stop letting them in your house.


  5. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 9:56 am:

    Every dollar not saved in pension reform is a dollar cut from state support for education and another IEA/IFT member laid off.
    It won’t be the union heads who lose their jobs. It will be lowest rung rank-and-file across the state.


  6. - east central - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 10:04 am:

    The pension systems would be short even if the State had been matching employee contributions to the system all along. It seems reasonable for members to share the cost of making up that shortfall.


  7. - RNUG Fan - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 10:05 am:

    I am not seeing the rage over this deal. I still see it at Madigan


  8. - Property Owner - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 10:11 am:

    I was watching the news on TV last night. In a story about the pension proposal by Senate president John Cullerton it was point out that the plan would cover an estimated $46B of the $100B in unfunded pension liabilities. If we assume the Cullerton play becomes law, any idea where the money to cover most of the liability (the remaining $50B or a bit more) will come from?


  9. - Anonymous 1 - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 10:12 am:

    The pension systems would not be short if the state had made its payments all along. Unless you mean 100% funded. Where do you find that? The combination of shorting the funds, along with the missing interest that that money would have accrued would put the funds probably near 70-80% funded (I have read). IMRF is 81% funded and is heralded as a rock solid fund. So, no. There is no getting around why this problem exists and it’s not because of employees who didn’t pay (never had a choice not to) or outrageous benefits.


  10. - Cook County Commoner - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 10:19 am:

    How will this new propsal affect the other 400 plus government employee plans in Illinois? Assuming it’s present reach is limited to five state plans, can the other local government employees stay on the sidelines waiting for the knock on their door?


  11. - AFSCME Steward - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 10:20 am:

    Patriot

    The unions have taken the state to court to force the state to make pension payments. The court ruled that it could not force payment. The unions are not responsible for the malfeasance by the legislators.

    “The unions have bargained for years to take raises instead of forcing proper funding of their pensions.”


  12. - FrankHat - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 10:27 am:

    Deadenders have a history of isolation and paranoia and this fellows rant unearths no new ground in the cause of progress.


  13. - JohnTwig - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 10:34 am:

    Eastern Central, where did you get your numbers showing pension funds being short even if the State had paid its share?

    Below is an excerpt taken from a pension funding presentation by Glenn Poshard at SIUC in February, 2012. While his analysis refers to SURS, I suspect analysis of the other systems would show similar results.

    “Underfunding has resulted from deliberate choices made by the state over several decades to not make required annual contributions to SURS.”

     

    “If the state of Illinois had made a contribution each year of the actuarial-determined normal cost, the system would now have a ratio of 104%.  The state would have had to contribute around 10 – 11% of payroll, which is a reasonable amount given that there were no Social Security contributions which had to be made.” 


  14. - Frenchie Mendoza - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 10:34 am:

    The job of the unions is not to “force proper funding of pensions.” The job of the unions is to get fair and equitable treatment for its members. I hear folks crying, “Hey, the unions did nothing to fix the pension problems.”

    What the heck? Why would they fix something they have no power over? Besides, Madigan’s current stance is *exactly* why the unions have no obligation to “fix the pensions.” The unions attempt a fix — and Madigan shuts them out. So why spend the effort?

    Besides, most union folks I know take a pretty simple attitude about this — a pretty generous attitude, actually — one that Madigan ignores. To wit:

    - Union folks will contribute more. Most have no problems with this.

    - Union folks expect to get what their constitutionally guaranteed. No less.

    - Union folks expect the same kind of raises that, yes, the private sector gets. They get no bonuses or stock options, so raises are what they expect — and what they continue to ask for. I don’t know a “private sector” worker that *hasn’t* gotten a raise lately — so why should public workers be forced and cajoled into austerity? Despite the loud voices of the right — private sector workers who have jobs are getting decent benefits. Fair benefits. Unions folks expect the same.

    - Union folks expect taxes to be raised on the corporate types who get the massive tax breaks. It makes sense - and it’s fair.

    The right — and the anti-union left like Madigan — continue to attempt this weird apoplectic display of rhetorical righteousness — as if raising taxes isn’t possible. Of course it’s possible — and I hope the courts say this. I mean, there’s no political will for it — I understand that. But lack of will doesn’t preclude possibility.


  15. - Jake - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 10:35 am:

    The most reasonable path forward is to pass sb2404 this year, to deal with half the shortfall by shared sacrifice, pass the Constitutional amendment to enable a graduated income tax next year, and in 2015 replace the flat tax with a graduated tax that will lower taxes for low and middle groups, increase the rate for the high end, and raise enough more revenue to make up the other half. Is there enough money at the high end? Absolutely. The top 1% income group in Illinois has more income than the bottom 60%.


  16. - SF - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 10:36 am:

    The summary of the union proposal says in 4a, “those set to retire as of January 1, 2013.” Was that supposed to be 2014?


  17. - Frenchie Mendoza - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 10:41 am:

    And this whole “what about the kids” stuff?

    Please. The kids — and everyone else in Illinois — has benefited from the penion shorting. Folks forget about that. If you’re one of the much-vaunted “private sector” workers — then you — and your corporate employer — has benefited. That’s why your CEO is making $1,000,000+ and you’re still stuck in the mid-60’s (or whatever). Everyone has benefited from the pension shorting.

    So, yeah, now that you’ve reaped the benefits, it’s time to pay up. Don’t ask the workers to pay twice — once with taxes and once out of their pensions. Everybody should pay once — including the actives and retirees. That’s why increased taxes make the most sense — despite (as I say above) the clear lack of political will.

    “But what about the kids?” Please. It’s as bad as using the kids for Squeezy. And that was pretty bad.


  18. - Chris - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 10:49 am:

    “It gave us Senate Bill 7.

    The horrible Senate Bill 7.”

    Still with that? The one major change in the bill, the union showed didn’t matter. Most of the ‘horrible’ stuff was already law, and had been for 15+ years.


  19. - Chris - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 10:58 am:

    “Isn’t the reported math on the Madigan plan that it only covers $30B of the $100B? So is Cullerton’s plan covering 50% MORE of the shortfall?”

    Nevermind; I see from the other post that this is apples and oranges.

    The 2d half still applies, tho: Can we get an independent evaluation of the savings/filling of the hole for each of the plans?


  20. - fed up - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 11:20 am:

    where is the sacrafice by all illinoisians. We all elected these people. And by the way state employees are tax payers also.


  21. - the Patriot - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 11:35 am:

    Steward, I feel your pain. My spouse is going to bring home less money, and have to work longer due to this proposal. But the Unions elected Blago two times and AFSCME and the IEA combined gave Quinn 1.25 million. Madigan and Quinn are going to cut you again so they can afford to keep paying entitlements to non working people because they know…no matter what…you will support the democrats in the next election.

    As long as you are the driving force behind Madigan and the democrat governor, whoever he or she is, you are the problem.

    You have two options, unions go all in for a republican, or maintain the present course. If you maintain the present course you will continue to take cuts and it will be your own fault.


  22. - east central - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 11:46 am:

    John and Anon,
    I was going by others analysis of COGFA reports that concluded that increases in the unfunded liabilities 1996-2011 were about one-half shorted normal costs and associated interest and about one-half due to poor investment returns, changes in miscellaneous actuarial factors, and benefit increases.

    I am not familiar with the SIUC report but if every year the State’s contribution were adjusted to cover shortfalls due to poor returns, changes in actuarial factors and benefits increases, then of course the systems would be fully funded. Obviously this would have meant much greater State contributions than calculated in the 1995 funding plan.

    Should the State be fully responsible for any shortfalls due to poor investment returns, changing actuarial standards, and benefits increases?


  23. - Demoralized - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 11:54 am:

    @the Patriot:

    If you think the Republicans are going to be any better on the pension issue you are either being disingenous or simply don’t know your history. The pension problem has been around for a long time and has been perpetuated by both parties. There were Republican governors in this state for more than two decades in a row and they handed out those raises the same as the Democrats. The problem is people like you who want to make this a partisan issue when it is clearly not. Try and be a little less partisan and study your history before you delcare that if only they would elect one party over the other everything would be fine. Oh, and by the way, to say such nonsense that the problem was created because they didn’t force pension funding is absolutely and totally ridiculous. Nobody forces the GA to do anything. Are you really that ignorant of the process?


  24. - IL Teacher - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 11:56 am:

    For the past 3 1/2 years, we’ve (Unions and Legislators) have been having the wrong conversation. It’s not about pension reform - it’s about revenue and what the state does with the revenue it does (or doesn’t) collect. Legislators have misappropriated money to date and some options of SB2404 require an additional 2% increase. We cannot trust anything that comes out of the Illinois Legislature anymore. Fool me once shame on you - fool me twice…


  25. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 12:05 pm:

    ===where is the sacrafice by all illinoisians===

    Income tax increase, man.


  26. - RNUG - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 12:10 pm:

    Rich @ 12:05,

    Not sure if you are referring to the current temp or the needed permanent increase.

    You, I and other knowledgable people know the temp income tax increase was never about permanently fixing the pension problem; it was about buying breathing room in the budget for just a few years.


  27. - Albert... - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 12:16 pm:

    @ IL Teacher…. I agree.

    No matter how you slice it… We are all in this boat together…. The income tax increase is proof of that….and yes…we all pay state income taxes.


  28. - Demoralized - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 12:17 pm:

    ==it was about buying breathing room in the budget for just a few years.==

    No, it was about the state being able to tread water. What breathing room in the budget are you talking about?


  29. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 12:35 pm:

    Should the State be fully responsible for any shortfalls due to poor investment returns

    Yep. If there are shortfall due to poor investment, hire better investors. I think the State Investment Board are “at will” employees, LOL.

    changing actuarial standards

    Yep. Gotta keep planning for the future, including funding for future obligations as can best be planned, rather than with blinders on. Sometimes this requires higher investment by the state as well as the employee, especialy younger ones who can be expected to live longer.

    and benefits increases?

    This one should most logically be borne to a greater degree by the employee than the first two.


  30. - Chris - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 12:36 pm:

    IL Teacher: “It’s not about pension reform - it’s about revenue and what the state does with the revenue it does (or doesn’t) collect. ”

    Then you should *support* moving the funding of teacher pensions closer to the teachers (ie, the cost shift to school districts). That’s the way to bypass the Legislature’s non-/mal-feasence on the issue.


  31. - Chris - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 12:40 pm:

    “This one should most logically be borne to a greater degree by the employee than the first two. ”

    Nah, that’s a straight up compensation issue–it’s whatever the contract calls for, since that’s where the benefit increase came from. If the deal is 1% cash raise, 2% pension increase, and the contract states that the 2% pension is to be funded by the employer, that’s on the ’state’, logically or otherwise.

    It’s more *defensible* to pass that ‘failing’ onto the employees, but that doesn’t make it the ‘logical’ or ‘proper’ outcome.


  32. - NW Illinois - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 12:47 pm:

    Madigan’s plan represents the best solution to the deep fiscal problems associated with pensions. Doubtful Springfield, collectively, has the political backbone to pass it.


  33. - titan - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 1:38 pm:

    @ NW Illinois 12:47 PM - right, don’t worry about that pesky Constitution, just focus on the savings you’d get (if the Act were to be upheld). On that note, why not just renege on the pensions entirely?


  34. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 1:41 pm:

    rich, us state employees have to pay the income tax increase also. my point is why are we taking on the whole burden?


  35. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 1:43 pm:

    ===my point is why are we taking on the whole burden? ====

    You’re not. That’s my point.


  36. - Bob Haisman - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 1:44 pm:

    I support IEA’s ( the “We Are One” Coalition’s) negotiated Pension Compromise — SB2404.

    I support SB2404 as an alternative to Speaker Madigan’s SB1.

    I support that My Union entered into a coalition with the other Unions - IFT, State Employees, Police, Firefighters, Nurses, Laborers.

    These negotiations were and are very very difficult. Fragile relationships. Different organizational styles. Different approaches to Collective bargaining. Different retirement systems. Different memberships. Throw that coalition into the cauldron of Illinois politics. The heat of the media drum beat to do “something” With proposals across the table of 10-20 Billion — These were difficult negotiations - effecting maybe 450,000 union members.

    The wonder is our union was able to pull any compromise out of this volcano. I applaud the fact that the unions sat down and talked, negotiated. The essence of negotiations is that everybody gives, every body feels some pain but it is a proven model to work out differences and arrive at a compromise! I applaud both the Unions and President Cullerton for persistence and not taking the easy way out!

    I’m a member of a Union (IEA). My union has brought back a compromise. Criticism goes with the role of negotiator. These are extremely important issues — I understand strong feelings. I believe my best course of action is to support My Union. I believe they achieved a pretty remarkable compromise.

    The alternative is just saying NO! That wouldn’t accomplished anything but the passage of amended SB 1!!

    I admire President Cullerton. He decided to work with the Unions. He will be roasted in the press and at the Civic Federation for working with us — I call that courage. Ultimately the Unions are Cullerton’s allies not sworn enemies.

    I thankful that both sides sat down and talked and reached a compromise!

    Bob Haisman , Retired Teacher


  37. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 1:44 pm:

    I don’t give a damm if every Illinois resident has to pay a higher income tax. maybe that will educate them into checking who they are voting for!!!!


  38. - Happy Returns - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 2:19 pm:

    ” I don’t give a damm if every Illinois resident has to pay a higher income tax. maybe that will educate them into checking who they are voting for!!!”

    Next up: the ‘To Teach You A Lesson’ Tax Hike.


  39. - James the Intolerant - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 2:22 pm:

    THere seems to be two choices, and whether it is fair or not fair is neither here nor there. Pay more now and get smaller benefits, or take a chance that in 20-30 years (I am not an actuary)there is no money. As a potential pensioner I choose #1.


  40. - Pacman - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 2:33 pm:

    The We Are One Coalition is going down a slippery slope with this one. Why are they backing unconstitutional legislation? What’s to stop the state from going after more unconstitutional concessions in the future? If and when they do, can the courts now say that since the unions previously accepted unconstitutional changes a precedent has been established?


  41. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 2:44 pm:

    I think the coalition has done a good job here. Too many on here are in simple denial: not accepting “bad” will lead to “far worse”. On the other hand, those of you who are sure Madigan’s SB1 proposal is unconstitutional should be supporting it as hard as you can; when it goes down you’re out nothing, right?


  42. - Ruby - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 2:52 pm:

    Fred Klonsky is right: = If the deal goes through? The state’s political leaders will be back again for more. =

    After reading information on SB1 and SB2404, I have called my state senator and asked her to vote NO on both pension reduction bills.


  43. - Norseman - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 3:16 pm:

    Steve, this all depends on who defines “bad” and “far worse.” Obviously, if you put a gun to my head and say Cullerton or Madigan, I’ll say Cullerton. But I’d prefer the approaches put forward by Martire and Fortan.

    I’m also convinced that Madigan is unconstitutional. I don’t need to support it to see that it gets passed so the court throw it out, I’d just as soon see both get caught up in the politics and die. Maybe then, we can get around to Martire or Fortan.


  44. - Bill - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 4:12 pm:

    I agree with Steve. The Cullerton plan is the best we are going to see. I really don’t think it will ever become law as is but it could be much much worse.


  45. - Rod - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 5:20 pm:

    The Patriot I think was correct when he wrote “the democrat party is no longer the party of the working class, it is the party of the non working class, they will continue to be abused.” But are public sector employees actually part of the working class?

    As I recall in classical socialist theory public sector employees were functionaries of the “capitalist state” which was not productive in nature and not part of the working class. After all wouldn’t state police have to enforce court orders that might require some striking private sector workers to return to work in certain situations. Clearly public sector workers unions are tied to the Democrats at the hip and periodically they must take a beating. At other times these unions have gotten their perks too.


  46. - RNUG - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 5:53 pm:

    Demoralized @ 12:17 pm:

    “Breathing room” - To use your analogy, it was about keep the State’s nose above water.


  47. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 5:54 pm:

    Norseman, we are never going to get to where you prefer to go. The best any of us can hope for is that president Cullerton and the Senate Ds stand tall, and that will be hard for them to do.

    let’s do a little reality test by picking a starting point assumption. 1) MJM has totally lost his self discipline, has developed a loose lip, and is known for spouting off on things he knows nothing about, or 2) There will be at least 4 ISC justices who will find SB1 constitutional. I know where my money goes on that bet.


  48. - RNUG - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 6:07 pm:

    steve schnorf @ 5:54 pm:

    I’ll agree #2 is the smart political bet … but the SC is going to have to basically reverse every pension decision since 1970 to make this pig fly.


  49. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 6:52 pm:

    Rich, you are right state employees are not taking the whole burden, JUST 95% OF IT!!!!!!!!!!!!


  50. - Norseman - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 8:11 pm:

    We’ve all heard of the saying, “never say never.”

    I too agree that #2 in the reality test you’ve structured is the smart political bet. I’ve never been so naive to reject the possibility of a political, not a legal decision by the court. If you accept the contention in your reality test that there are four votes to sustain SB 1 before the case is even brought before them, then you have to raise a question about the ethics of the court. I’m not prepared to do that.

    I am saying I would add a point #3 to your reality check stating that the court will rule against SB 1 based on the precedent set in court rulings and the intent discussed by the delegates of the constitutional convention. Once that happens, the General Assembly can finally get around to other solution that doesn’t target existing employees and retirees to correct the decades of mismanagement by the governors and legislators.


  51. - RNUG - Tuesday, May 7, 13 @ 11:00 pm:

    Re-read SB2404 tonight. As introduced and amended (#1), it does have the better pension funding guarantee that allows individual members to act IF the pension systems fail to act. So, short of an actual constitutional amendment spelling it out in one syllable words that can not be misconstrued by a future GA, it is probably the best funding promise employees and retirees are going to get.

    If I’m following the references correctly, Amendment 1 seems to just be some clean-up of the introduced bill, although there might be a slight amount of wiggle room on the target level in the change. If nothing else, it would make it a bit easier in the future to reset the funding goal by having less spots in the pension code to change it.

    The introduced bill also has the increased 1% / 2% employee contribution requirement and the pension guarantee is supposed to be the consideration. Even though that provision is imposed with no choice, I think that specific combination has a fair chance of passing constitutional muster. It all depends on how much value a court places on the guarantee.

    What I don’t yet see in the bill are the other provisions (COLA holiday, health care access) that are listed on the union / Cullerton discussion sheet. Those are the questionable items, especially since the health insurance / access to is still in question.

    I realize those provisions may be added on Wednesday, either before or (probably) during the hearing Cullerton has slated. I really want to see that language to see what the “defaults” will be if the employee / retiree refuses to make a choice.


  52. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, May 8, 13 @ 12:00 am:

    Norseman, your option 3 is my option 1


  53. - Norseman - Wednesday, May 8, 13 @ 1:27 am:

    Steve, it’s all academic for me and thousands of public workers and retirees. Just like the shorting of the pension funds, there is nothing we can do to prevent or have an impact on what the legislature will do.

    The only thing we can do is hope for some integrity in the judiciary. Your reality test seems to argue that’s a lost cause.


  54. - Bill - Wednesday, May 8, 13 @ 7:34 am:

    ==The only thing we can do is hope for some integrity in the judiciary==

    Good luck with that.


  55. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, May 8, 13 @ 11:32 am:

    just because people disagree with you doesn’t mean they have no integrity


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