* Hizzoner announced what he said was a major agreement yesterday…
The Emanuel administration announced that it has reached a compromise with some of its unions that would resolve about half of the city’s pension debt crisis, putting about 70 percent of the burden on the city and its taxpayers and the rest on workers and retirees.
The city is putting on the table a $250 million increase in property taxes over five years, increasing the tax bill by $50 a year for the average homeowner. Retirees would see slower growth in cost cost-of-living increases and workers are expected to increase their contributions eventually to 11 percent of pay, from 8.5 percent today.
* But the unions that represent many, if not most, of the 34,000 active employees covered by this alleged agreement oppose the plan…
The We Are One Chicago union coalition is opposed to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s pension proposal affecting participants in the Municipal and Laborers pension funds. Coalition members opposing the deal include the Chicago Teachers Union, AFSCME Council 31, and the Illinois Nurses Association – all of whom represent city and school board employees and retirees that would be directly affected.
The CTU represents lots of school workers who aren’t in the teachers pension fund.
* The trade unions are hailed as supporters, but the other unions will be working hard against this thing once Mayor Emanuel unveils his Springfield legislative package.
* What residents and workers would be forced to give up…
The mayor’s proposal involves both taxpayers and city workers paying more. Under the proposal, the owner of a $250,000 home would pay $50 more a year starting in 2016. After five years, the homeowner would be paying an extra $250 a year. […]
City workers also would pay 2.5 percent more toward their retirement, increasing their contributions by 0.5 percent a year for five years. Employees now pay 8.5 percent of their salary each year for pensions and would ultimately pay 11 percent. The increase would amount to about $1,500 more a year by 2019 for a city worker making about $60,000.
In addition, City Hall would change how it awards cost-of-living increases to city workers. Instead of 3 percent yearly bumps that are compounded, the city would provide increases at the lower of 3 percent or at half the level of inflation, not compounded. In addition, annual pension bumps would not be given in 2017, 2019 and 2025, and there would be a two-year delay in starting the hikes upon retirement.
* The bigger picture…
If Emanuel can convince the General Assembly to approve the pension deal with building trades and white collar employees, it could leave police and fire unions on the outside looking in.
Next year, Chicago is required by state law to make a $600 million contribution to stabilize police and fire pension funds that have now have assets to cover just 30.5 percent and 25 percent of their respective liabilities.
The mayor wants the General Assembly to put off the balloon payment until 2023 to give him time to negotiate a similar deal with police and fire unions.
The cops and firefighters are gonna be tough nuts to crack. The firefighters, especially, are quite adept in Springfield and they rarely lose. Actually, I’m having a hard time thinking of a bill that passed which they wholeheartedly opposed. Kicking the can down the road is, therefore, a wise move. But the first responders know they’re next, so they’ll fight this thing hard.
The mayor’s plan calls for 70 percent of the money to come from the city, 9 percent from employees and 21 percent from benefit reforms.
Roughly 30 percent of the city’s contribution would be paid by “appropriately allocating” increased pension costs to the Aviation and Water funds based on the number of employees whose work is tied to those funds. Another 20 percent would come from savings generated by phasing out the city’s 55 percent subsidy to retiree health care and other budget savings.