Coalition offers framework to solve pension crisis

13 Aug

This week, August 13-17, will be an important week for IEA members and all public employees in Illinois.

The top legislative priority for the week is to stop HB 1447, which cuts pensions and benefits for current and retired state employees (SERS). HB1447 does not impact TRS or SURS employees directly, but any pension changes that are not agreed to by the unions representing the impacted workers are bad for all public employees and for Illinois as a whole.

At this writing, it does not appear likely that there will be action on legislation impacting TRS and SURS members. However, IEA leaders and staff are remaining vigilant, keeping close tabs on legislation and checking in with legislators to guard against any “surprises.” IEA members will be informed of any changes the moment they are discovered.

The We Are One Illinois (WAOI) coalition (which includes IEA, IFT, AFSCME and other public employee unions) is involved in a number of activities this week tied to the August 17 special legislative session on pensions called by Gov. Pat Quinn.

The activities listed below are intended to help preserve pensions and collective bargaining rights for public employees in Illinois.

Monday (August 13): WAOI will convene a media conference with reporters to unveil the coalition’s framework for resolving the state pension crisis. It will read in part:

The following must be in any plan going forward:

1. A guarantee that the state will pay its portion as required. That hasn’t happened for decades, as legislatures have diverted money to other programs.

2. A true look at revenue by closing loopholes for big corporations that hurt taxpayers of Illinois. Many loopholes exist, and closing a few would generate money to help pay down the pension debt.

3. No inclusion of current retirees, who are living on an earned and needed pension and cannot re-enter the job market.

4. With a guarantee that the state would pay its portion, the members who are reliant on the pension systems for their retirement security, would offer to help the state by paying more even though they have contributed their portion over the years.

Wednesday (August 15), “Governor’s Day” at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield: WAOI will join with coalition member AFSCME to support their demonstration against Gov. Quinn’s efforts to cut pensions for state employees and eliminate needed state services.

1) There will be a We Are One Illinois news conference held at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Springfield, which will take place simultaneously with a legislative breakfast at the same hotel. IEA will be represented by Pres. Cinda Klickna.

The news conference will discuss:

· The importance of legislators voting NO on HB 1447 and any other pension bills that are not supported by unions representing the impacted employees and retirees.

· The WAOI framework for dealing with the pension crisis.

2) Fairgrounds demonstration – Retirees and any IEA members who have not yet begun school, and who would like to participate, can join the demonstration at 11:30 a.m. at the Main Gate of the State Fairgrounds. (There will be no buses, mileage reimbursement or lunch provided.)

Friday (August 17) “special legislative session on pensions” called by Gov. Quinn.

1) Retirees and any IEA members who have not yet begun school, and who would like to participate, are encouraged to gather outside the General Assembly chambers in the Statehouse at 10:30 a.m. to let legislators know they need to vote NO on HB1447 and any other legislation opposed by the coalition.

2) There will be a WAOI rally in the Statehouse rotunda at 11:30 a.m. (There will be no buses, mileage reimbursement or lunch provided.)

What you can do right now:

Call 888-412-6570 and tell your legislators to oppose any pension-cutting bill.

We will post new information as it becomes available. Check the IEA website, Facebook page and Twitter feed for updates.

via Coalition offers framework to solve pension crisis.

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