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The pension fight at street level.

February 11, 2013

The leadership of the We Are One coalition of Illinois public employee unions is holding their pension summit with legislative leaders today. It is scheduled for 1PM in Burr Ridge.

The Governor says he will drop by. Nice of him.

State Democratic Party Chairman, who happens to be House Speaker Michael Madigan, told We Are One to drop dead.

Meeting with the union leaders is the right thing for legislative leaders to do. The legislative leaders are the ones who caused the problem in the first place.

The legislature will do nothing to solve it.

That would require a change in the way the state raises revenue.

Even We Are One is muddying the waters on that by offering up additional member contributions to the system. As if  the current 9.4% isn’t enough.

But they want to seem reasonable and seem like problem solvers. It won’t work.

When Madigan wrote his drop dead letter, AFL-CIO head Michael Carrigan answered him appropriately.

But that ended the unions’ public pushback.

For the pushback to take place, grassroots organizers, bloggers and activists had to take up the leadership slack.

We got over four thousand people to sign an online petition calling for a constitutional solution.

We turned out hundreds for a town hall forum called by pension busters Senator Dan Biss and Representative Robyn Gabel.

On Friday, we organized a call-in to Speaker Madigan demanding he meet with state union leadership to find a real pension solution.

We have no access to Madigan’s phone records and they are not willing to discuss how many calls the Speaker received.

But we know it was successful.

From Capitol Fax:

And considering the huge number of calls that members have been receiving on pensions and guns lately, I’m not so sure that one secretary can handle three Senators. Heck, even Speaker Madigan’s line is constantly busy.

By the way, here is another way to reach Madigan if his Springfield line is busy.

And here are the phone numbers of EVERY member of Madigan’s staff.

The odd thing about the fight at street level. IEA leadership has made it known they don’t appreciate it. IEA President Cinda Klickna refused access to the IEA member website for a link to the online petition.

Top IEA leadership wrote to say I was disloyal and causing disunity for criticizing Klickna’s action.

But as the Madigan call-in campaign demonstrates, who’s more pro-union than the pension activists, both active and retired?

Some seem to confuse loyalty with silence.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Smayer permalink
    February 11, 2013 1:05 pm

    Fred,

    I looked at Madigan’s law firm web site and spotted this entity listed as a client of the firm: State Teachers Retirement Systems, Inc.

    Any idea who or what that is? (Sure hope it’s not our beloved TRS!)

    • Fred Klonsky permalink*
      February 11, 2013 2:45 pm

      I checked with TRS board member Bob Lyons. It’s not TRS.

  2. Jerry permalink
    February 11, 2013 2:12 pm

    It is highly admirable that the ‘grass roots movement’ membership is clearly supporting the union leadership’s effort to call legislators to the pension summit, unlike the union leadership’s unwillingness to support the petition and, hence, its own membership.

  3. February 11, 2013 2:36 pm

    Madigan’s law firm is at 30 North LaSalle; the site’s home page shows Water Tower Place at 835 North Michigan Avenue with the Hancock Building jutting behind it.
    Madigan’s law firm is a mile away from the cover photo for his actual business address.
    Why am I not surprised? Are you surprised? “Truth in labeling” doesn’t apply to anything that Madigan touches.
    I wonder if there is a slime trail between 30 North LaSalle and 835 North Michigan Ave.? That might explain something.

  4. Janie Narczewski permalink
    February 11, 2013 6:23 pm

    Why does IFT and IEA continue to endorse and give money to Madigan and his fellow cronies? Think it is time to withhold our support.

  5. Bob Brill permalink
    February 11, 2013 10:49 pm

    My local president won’t endorse the petitition because Cinda won’t. Today’s meeting was a bust between unions and politicians, with Springfield throwing the unions under the bus because we keep repeating the new revenue mantra (which would work) instead of “coming up with new ideas” (AKA for agreeing with them to cannibalize pensions). Still we gallantly give money to Cross, Madigan, and the whole crew so they can slap us around. Unfortunately, so few teachers that have 20 years or more to continue teaching are getting involved with this issue. They are way too complacent, and are going to get stiffed worse than the retired & soon to be retirees. Republican and Democrat legislators are not our friends…

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