Karen Lewis. “This is theft. Plain and simple.”


– Karen Lewis is President of the Chicago Teachers Union.

CHICAGO—Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis released the following statement on the passage of SB1922 in the Illinois House of Representatives, a proposal by the mayor of Chicago that will cut the retirement savings of thousands of city workers:

“This is a sad day for our paraprofessionals, especially our retired ones, who will see their pensions reduced and devalued significantly. They will lose the value of a third of their retirement savings, so instead of the people who crashed the economic system having to pay their fair share, our elected officials brutally attack the people who are most vulnerable—many of whom have become the head of their households, caring for both children and grandchildren,” Lewis said.

“They’re making this a law so that these individuals, lifelong city and state workers, will lose their benefits. This is theft—plain and simple. We urge Governor Pat Quinn to veto this unfair, unconstitutional legislation and instead call for renewed discussions among Mayor Emanuel, the city and our unions.”

The CTU represents 4,000 active members and thousands of retired members in the Chicago Municipal Fund (MEABF). We were not part of any negotiations with representatives from the City of Chicago regarding changes to this fund’s benefit levels. We continue to oppose this unfair and economically damaging proposal.

16 thoughts on “Karen Lewis. “This is theft. Plain and simple.”

    1. Mayor. Governor. She can’t run for everything and run a union. Got to build a movement, my friend.

    1. Tax the rich. How about a transaction tax? What do YOU propose happen when retirees run out of money?

      1. New York has a millionaire tax on property sales of over a million dollars. But Rahm won’t tax his buddies, just steal from the most vulnerable. I predict mass exodus from this state. Very few retired public employees will be able to reside here without colas and escalating property taxes

    2. What would I propose? I propose the city pay what they owe to the pension funds. Then the funds will not run out of money.

    3. Anonymous..Most Government pension funds are underfunded because the Government failed to make their payments. the government in my state, OK, is allowed to miss payments so for 35 years they have never made the full payment. Now we are hearing how much of a crisis this is and how us educators are breaking the States wallet. I’ve never missed a retirement payment. these reforms are all Bullspit. Simply put the State is failing to meet it’s obligation and doing so by giving huge tax breaks to the mega rich.

  1. The entire state’s teachers need to march on Springfield and demand that which we have paid for our entire careers! They cannot get substitutes for us all! If we don’t do something, this is only the beginning.

    1. Revolution needs to be a word that is recognized and realized. The constitution is being violated and abused. All at the hands of the 1%. Act now and the suffering will be shorter. It is time for a movement. I hope peaceable will work.

  2. Flight or FIGHT? STAND YOUR GROUND, CTU! Vote in November; throw the thieves out of office if they voted “yea”! Throw HIS Honor out of office! Scare the hell out of Madigan. Consider selling your Chicago property and moving to Carbondale, Illinois; find a property near the Shawnee National Forest. Coles County has a great lifestyle, and you can notify the mayor you’re never going through his town again, let alone visiting it. I taught at Warren Twnshp H.S. one semester ( jan.-June, 84) That was enough for me. DON’T go quietly; don’t SCAB, and don’t forget to VOTE!

    1. I have been down there several times, it is a very nice area. Might be OK for retirees, but for those still working, they have to make a living. Unless they can find another job, it is usually impractical to just quit a job they need to pay the bills.

  3. What’s really sad is we are faced having to vote the same thieves back into office because there is no viable alternative candidates. It is quite apparent looking at the current two parties there is not even a lesser of two evils. The irony is that half the no votes cast are because the legislation did not go far enough in take our pensions away from us. Look at the gubernatorial teams we have to choose between: Rauner who is anti teacher, union, and public schools; and, Squeezy who signed the SB 1 theft with a running mate that believes that teachers should be let go after ten years (I guess he believes in term limits but only for teachers.) Unless we begin to organize a viable third party we can yell “STOP THIEF” until we no longer have anything left to take.

    This leaves very little available to us to redress our grievances. Historically, when grievances fail to be addressed by the government you have the right to break away from that tyranny. I think you can read that in one of our country’s significant documents—The Declaration of Independence? Or we can learn from the current Tea Party that hijacked the GOP and take over the Democratic Party.

    Another course of action is civil disobedience. This worked for Ganhdi with the British and the civil rights movement led by MLKing in this country. Maybe we should defer from paying taxes and let them arrest us, clog the judicial system with these cases, incarcerate us and be a a real burden to society. As a nation we seemed more willing to build more prisons and spend money on the penal system than spend it on programs to solve the problems, i.e. education, social services, job training.

    Another option is to leave Illinois, the State of chaos, but unfortunately the problems appear to be as much national problems, not just an Illinois problem. Most of us who were of draft age during the Vietnam conflict saw Canada as the most viable option.

    Unfortunately, I cannot say which of the aforementioned would be the most reasonable or successful course of action. I do not have that answer, but doing what we are currently doing is yelling into the wind with no foreseeable change.

  4. Here is an idea: Stop with the TIF funds in Chicago. Stop with the constant campaign contributions from the recipients of the TIF funds so there is no legal kickbacks. Throw the legislators’ pensions in the mix too. Throw city council’s pension in there too. Why are they exempt?

    1. Stealing and Emanuel is the tip of the iceberg. Easy to see why he gave up millions to be mayor. He is lining his pockets with Tifs. Voters he is crushing the middle class. Oust him now and others will follow.

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