Stephanie Gadlin Chicago Teachers Union -- 312/329-6250
January 29, 2014
January 29, 2014
CHICAGO - In today’s State of the State address, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn made multiple references to “getting the job done” and also claimed to have ended the culture of instability that existed in Illinois government. He highlighted the strides that the state has made in working with women and minority-owned businesses. The problem is that his claims about the benefits of education reform and championing an agreement on comprehensive pension reform don’t meet any of these tests.
Education reform as done in Illinois promotes instability and privatization, disproportionately and negatively impacts women and people of color, and makes it difficult for parents and educators to “get the job done.” The pension reform the governor cited as the “tallest task of all” is currently being challenged in Illinois Circuit Court by the We Are One Illinois coalition of labor unions for violating the pension clause of the Illinois Constitution, which states that a public pension is a contract that the State of Illinois cannot diminish or impair.
We stand in support with the teacher and service unions throughout the state who filed suit yesterday, as well as the more than 20 individual retirees named as plaintiffs. As we prepare to aggressively defend our own public pensions here in Chicago, we stand up for some of the most important people in our community—those who have already served, paid a great debt to the people of our city and state and have paid into their pension systems only to be told they won’t get the money they deserve.
“There are many ways to solve the state’s economic problems, but these legislators insist on doing it on the backs of its workers by ignoring the pension heist and not taking into consideration the consequences to our communities,” said CTU President Karen GJ Lewis. “They’re destroying the morale of the people who are actually doing the work and threating the security of those who have already served. We call on the governor to end this pension heist.”
Teachers, paraprofessionals and school clinicians will join other municipal workers in a mass pension rally in Springfield on February 19. For more information visit www.ctunet.com.