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The pension proxy war

Friday, Mar 14, 2014

* One of the biggest legislative campaign stories this year is the proxy war between House Speaker Michael Madigan and the public employee unions. For instance, appointed state Rep. Rep. Jaime Andrade Jr. (D-Chicago) voted for the pension reform bill. The unions have been spending tons of cash to defeat him

Andrade has picked up more than $60,000 from Madigan and is getting help from the speaker’s troops. Mell’s ward organization added $15,000. Andrade, who voted for same-sex marriage, received $11,000 from Equality Illinois PAC, a gay rights group.

Big union money is backing Nancy Schiavone, who finished third for 35th Ward alderman in 2011 and then became the ward’s committeeman. AFSCME gave her $50,000, SEIU donated $40,000 and spent about $82,000 in an independent expenditure, and the Illinois Federation of Teachers contributed $25,000.

* Rep. Toni Berrios (D-Chicago) voted against the pension bill, but she voted for six pension reform bills previously, so the unions are on the attack

Joe Berrios’ 31st Ward Regular Democratic Organization is in big for his daughter at $66,000. Madigan has poured in more than $55,000. Mailboxes are getting stuffed with fliers from Madigan’s operation. He’s also chipped in thousands more for paid campaign staff. Rep. Berrios received $6,500 from a local operating engineers union. She started the year with $156,779 in her campaign fund and so far has added more than $302,000.

[Will Guzzardi] has collected more than $240,000 since Jan. 1, the bulk of it from unions. AFSCME, the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Education Association each tossed in $50,000. The CTU chipped in $11,000. A Service Employees International Union Healthcare fund PAC contributed $42,000. Guzzardi also is benefiting from nearly $91,000 in independent expenditures from the Illinois chapter of SEIU.

* And then there’s Christian Mitchell (D-Chicago) who voted for the pension bill and is mainly targeted by the Chicago Teachers Union, but other labor groups are involved

{T}eachers unions have poured in $240,000 since Jan. 1 to blast Mitchell and boost the campaign of challenger Jay Travis, a community activist with sympathies for union concerns. They’ve made independent expenditures through a political action committee called Chicagoans United for Economic Security.

Travis also has collected $30,000 for her campaign fund from teachers unions and $10,000 from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which is among the unions suing over the state pension law.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

17 Comments
  1. - Mason born - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:39 am:

    I really wonder how these unions will, with a straight face, pivot to support Quinn in the general. (yes i am assuming BR Wins) We spent a fortune to rid ourselves of a few of the legislators who voted for this but hey vote for the Governor who cheerfully signed it.

    I don’t see how Quinn with the Pension bill, canceling contractual raises, and the contract mess ends up with excited union support.


  2. - Walker - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:42 am:

    True, but not just about public pensions.

    A Guzzardi win would be quite a shock to the system: organizations of Madigan, Chairman Berrios, entrenched aldermen, and President Preckwinkle.


  3. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    ===A Guzzardi win would be quite a shock to the system===

    Yes, it would. But winning two out of three would be the really big story I think. Berrios has a horrible name, Guzzardi has been campaigning for three straight years. It will obviously be big, big news if he wins (Chi media loathes her dad), but if they can beat Andrade or Mitchell too it would then be a real shock to the system itself.


  4. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    If any of these candidates lose, it will not be their pensions votes that sunk them. The unions need to understand that.


  5. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    Well, the system needs a shock. For all those who complain about the corruption of Berrios and the tight control Madigan holds over the General Assembly ( apparently not as big a threat to the Trib editors as those awful teachers), this is your chance to make a difference.

    If you think that with a Democratic governor and two-thirds majorities in the legislature, you shouldn’t have to beg for marriage equality ,wait for an increase in the minimum wage,or watch hugh corporate giveaways to the likes of CME while vital education, health, and social service programs are neglected, now is the time to make your voice heard.Otherwise, quit complaining.


  6. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    ==If any of these candidates lose, it will not be their pensions votes that sunk them. The unions need to understand that.==

    What has Mitchell done other than the pension vote that’s objectionable? Berrios & Andrade have the insider baggage and while Mitchell is an insider with the Preckwinkle crowd, there is the reform aspect there that Andrade and Berrios don’t have. Also, it doesn’t matter whether the motivating issue was pensions or not for voters, but that it was the reason unions went all in against these candidates.


  7. - A guy... - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 12:10 pm:

    They’re all in. All over the map. Dangerous game to play on the side of the chamber that owns Boardwalk and Park Place.


  8. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 12:14 pm:

    “What has Mitchell done other than the pension vote that’s objectionable?”

    Nothing. That is why he will win.

    Election day will be very interesting. If all three of these candidates win, there will be a different type of shock to the system - one that shows that the political influence of unions is waning.


  9. - Norseman - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 12:24 pm:

    I could stand a little shock to their system.


  10. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 2:18 pm:

    ===If you think that with a Democratic governor and two-thirds majorities in the legislature, you shouldn’t have to beg for marriage equality ,wait for an increase in the minimum wage,or watch hugh corporate giveaways to the likes of CME while vital education, health, and social service programs are neglected, now is the time to make your voice heard.===

    Will Guzzardi must be some sort of super-hero if he’s gonna single handedly force all of that change.

    Impressive.


  11. - Truthteller - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 2:27 pm:

    Rich, you’re way too cynical. Things can be changed if folks are willing to make the effort.
    Do you think change is desirable and possible?
    You have to start somewhere, don’t you agree?


  12. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 2:28 pm:

    ===Do you think change is desirable and possible?
    You have to start somewhere, don’t you agree? ===

    Of course it’s possible. But there are 118 people in that chamber.


  13. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 2:30 pm:

    ===Rich, you’re way too cynical.===

    No, mainly a realist. One member matters little, unless that member is the Speaker.


  14. - Anon - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 3:29 pm:

    It’s instructive that Democrats are facing union wrath, but no mention of any GOP incumbents neing sp targeted.Is that because the majority of GOP legislators found reasons to vote against SB1?


  15. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 3:52 pm:

    –I really wonder how these unions will, with a straight face, pivot to support Quinn in the general. (yes i am assuming BR Wins) We spent a fortune to rid ourselves of a few of the legislators who voted for this but hey vote for the Governor who cheerfully signed it.–

    Mason, good points.

    Public employee unions hardly own the Democratic Party in Illinois, despite the lazy national narrative.


  16. - AnonymousOne - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 4:25 pm:

    ==vote for the Governor who cheerfully signed it==

    I seriously doubt that anyone affected by pension theft will be cheerfully voting for anyone…Emphasis on cheerfully. Death by sword or gunshot. Take your pick. No good choices out there.


  17. - Mokenavince - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 4:41 pm:

    If I were a betting man my money would be on Madigan’s pick. Guzzardi got a ton of union money betting on him, big set back if he loses.


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