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*** UPDATED x1 *** AFT President apparently unclear on agreement details

Thursday, May 16, 2013

* Earlier this week, I told you that American Federation of Teachers’ President Randi Weingarten supported the pension reform agreement between the Senate Democrats and organized labor.

She was asked about that support on Twitter


Um, actually, that’s not true. Retirees are most definitely impacted. They’d have to choose between continuing with subsidized government health insurance or taking a reduced COLA.

* Blogger Fred Klonsky jumped in


* Weingarten was then forced to back down


How the heck did she not know that retirees would be impacted before she trumpeted her own support?

*** UPDATE *** I had the following e-mail exchange with an AFT spokesperson today…

AFT: Rich- I wanted to make sure you saw that Randi sent Fred Klonsky a longer comment off twitter to clarify why she and IFT support the pension proposal. He made it a separate post.

http://preaprez.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/randi-weingarten-responds-to-my-blog-post-on-pensions/

Miller: Yes, I saw that. She doesn’t address the issue about how she got her facts wrong. Can you?

AFT: She quickly corrected her tweet. Then she sent Fred that longer message since she didn’t feel like twitter’s 140 characters was sufficient to detail her thoughts on the bill

Miller: But why was she wrong in the first place?

AFT: 140 characters is an art, not a science and didn’t effectively capture her thoughts—hence the longer blog comment.

I was told by somebody else that Weingarten has been in transit and tweeting on the go. She knew that retirees were in the bill, but that the inclusion wasn’t unreasonable.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

28 Comments
  1. - Norseman - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 12:21 pm:

    Do we see another example of an exec who simply signs off on a staff press release without checking the details. IFT asks for help; receives help; lazy president gets egg on face.


  2. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 12:21 pm:

    This is typical of what happens when DC-types poke their noses into state and local issues. She would have been better off not to comment on specifics and just say she trusted the local folks to get the best deal possible.


  3. - Cassiopeia - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 12:24 pm:

    This is pretty amazing. For the union president to be so uninformed on probably the biggest issue facing her union is a stunning dereliction of responsibilities.


  4. - Darienite - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 12:24 pm:

    “I wasn’t a math teacher?”


  5. - RNUG - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 12:29 pm:

    Unbelievable … and these people make it to the “top” of their profession …


  6. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 12:30 pm:

    “I knew that. I was just testing to see if you knew that.”

    This is just dumbfounding. I can’t imagine a bigger embarrassment for a union honcho.


  7. - Just looking at the data - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 12:38 pm:

    @Smallschools: SB 2404 which calls for major cuts in retired teachers’ pensions

    It’s 5.5%.

    @fklonsky: That’s $100K over 30 yrs.

    Over 30 years, it’s 5.5%.


  8. - RNUG - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 12:40 pm:

    Just as an observation … in previous cases, the IL SC found that as little as $2,000 or so was a significant reduction and not allowed.


  9. - Anonymous 1 - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 12:42 pm:

    =these people make it to the top of their professionnnn==

    You think the coming changes will attract better, brighter, sharper people? Anyone right now young enough and sharp enough is running out the door and should be!


  10. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 12:49 pm:

    Not that Ms. Weingarten or her organization had anything to do with the negotiations…but this gaffe will strengthen the notion that “unions” cannot and should not represent the interests of “retirees” who are not part of their membership.


  11. - Perspective - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 12:49 pm:

    Another observation … we’re talking about a TWEET. She points out here that a two-year COLA freeze is reasonable shared sacrifice.

    http://preaprez.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/randi-weingarten-responds-to-my-blog-post-on-pensions/


  12. - Allen Skillicorn - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 1:03 pm:

    …And if they do nothing the greed of a few could undermine the whole system. Even massive tax increases won’t solve the funding problems.


  13. - Wensicia - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 1:04 pm:

    ==but this gaffe will strengthen the notion that “unions” cannot and should not represent the interests of “retirees” who are not part of their membership.==

    Retirees are part of the membership and have their own council in the AFT/IFT.


  14. - Mouthy - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 1:08 pm:

    They, the unions, are in the tank concerning Cullerton’s bill and it’s treatment of current retirees. This is just a demonstration of it.


  15. - biased observer - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 1:08 pm:

    newsflash:

    this just came across the wire: Randi Weingarten has just accepted a position as the executive director of the Illinois Policy Institute.


  16. - RNUG - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 1:11 pm:

    Wensicia @ 1:04 pm:

    Some retirees, not all, belong to unions.


  17. - RNUG - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 1:14 pm:

    Allen Skillicorn @ 1:03 pm:

    It’s not greed, just the expectation that the retirees will be paid exactly what was contracted for … the same expectation any businessman has, to be paid according to a contract.


  18. - Wensicia - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 1:21 pm:

    ==Some retirees, not all, belong to unions.==

    That could be, but the Illinois Federation of Teachers/AFT does represent all of its retirees.

    This is why Weingarten’s misstep is so egregious.


  19. - Liberty First - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 1:49 pm:

    Retirees are not members of collective bargaining units under Illinois Labor Relations law and thus are not legally represented by unions. Unions, as do employers, voluntarily provide benefits to retirees. Sometimes retirees received earned benefits from prior labor - employer or employee- employer contracts.


  20. - Liberty First - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 1:52 pm:

    “Current employees, retirees and the state reached a sensible compromise that resulted in SB 2404.” according to Weingarten–
    oh really?


  21. - Anonymous 1 - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 2:03 pm:

    ==the greed of a few==

    You must be talking about our legislators there. If they hadn’t greedily stolen the money that should have been placed in the funds for retirees, retirees wouldn’t have to insist that they get what the constitution tells them they are entitled to. I think you have the greedy people mixed up, sir.


  22. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 2:14 pm:

    The teachers unions couldn’t care less for the retirees, since a good portion of them do not belong to the teachers’ unions. The unions are out to get the best deal for active dues paying members, and screw the retirees!


  23. - Tsavo - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 2:30 pm:

    This was from Mr. Klonsky’s site, a $40,000 pension with a 2 year freeze will cost a retiree $104,579.73 over 30 years. See attached chart.

    http://preaprez.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/the-in-box-what-sb2404-will-cost-a-retiree-what-it-will-cost-the-state/#comment-30544


  24. - Ruby - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 3:45 pm:

    == The unions are out to get the best deal for active dues paying members ==

    Many retired teachers are dues paying members of their union.


  25. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 3:47 pm:

    “Twitter and Facebook never can make you look bad”

    People do know, you are not REQUIRED to be on Twitter, or to Tweet everything…right?


  26. - Eve - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 4:07 pm:

    What a tragedy that the poor $40k-per-year retiree to whom Klonsky refers would be getting a mere $88k pension instead of the $94k to which s/he is entitled under current law. Good for RW for joining the unions here to support something constructive instead of continuing to say no. Klonsky doesn’t get it.


  27. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 4:07 pm:

    Ruby, and the union stuck it to their retired members.


  28. - titan - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 4:58 pm:

    @ Eve (4:07 PM) - If you had gotten a $40,000 pension 30 years ago (1983), you would need a $93,390 pension today simply to have kept pace with inflation.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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