Illinois Supremes smack Rahm on pensions.


At last Spring’s IEA Representative Assembly, Glen Brown, I and others asked the IEA leadership not to give away pension rights we would win in court. They refused.

I was having lunch with my blogger pals John and Glen yesterday so I didn’t get to watch the live streaming of the oral arguments before the Illinois Supreme Court on Rahm’s pension theft.

That is okay because it sounded like a rerun of the oral arguments we heard when they were considering Senate Bill 1 earlier this year.

The difference – and given the willingness of some unions, including the IEA to bargain away retiree benefits, this is important – the difference is the courts seemed to suggest by their questions that this is not a collective bargaining issue.

When Glen Brown, I and others asked the IEA leadership at last year’s Representative Assembly to promise not to bargain away what the courts ruled was ours, they would not do it.

By the way, retired delegates who proclaim themselves pension warriors now, would not support us then.

Chicago Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton told the Court, “It’s why 27 of 31 unions that we negotiated with for two-and-a-half years stepped up with us to try to solve this problem. These folks are better off. They will have a pension fund. In just the first few years, our contributions are going to increase from $177 million in 2014 to more than $650 million and keep going up from there. This is a huge financial obligation.”

But Justice Thomas wasn’t buying it.

“You talk quite a bit about the agreement between the city and the unions. But, you would agree we’re dealing with a statute — not a collective bargaining agreement, right?”

“Any agreement between the city and the unions is simply part of the history of how the statute came to be.”

“From our standpoint, if the statute is clear and unambiguous on its face and if we believe … how the pension benefits were diminished, why would this court even consider the act’s history?”

When the Court rules again in favor of our pension rights, as it is expected to do, it will now include what it did not have the opportunity to rule in SB1. They will not only protect us from the elected pension thieves in Springfield and City Hall.

They will protect us from sell-out union leaders as well.


5 thoughts on “Illinois Supremes smack Rahm on pensions.

  1. I guess the city was extended a courtesy for an appeal even though this one surely was DOA. Not so sure on healthcare for retirees where a decision is expected by 12/11. Does anybody have any comments on which way that one might go?

  2. I feel the same frustration when it comes to the union I hold membership in- AFSCME. It appears that union membership leaders more and more do not represent the views of their rank-and-file There is little transparency and communication between union leaders and members

  3. Fred, that quote from Justice Thomas is priceless. Even we armchair attorneys know the line of argument the City is making is terribly flawed.

  4. As always, thanks to you, Glen, John, Ken and others who keep us informed. I read Glen’s blog right before this and both of you state the facts succinctly. I have lost faith in the IEA, the NEA and other union leaders, who, as others have stated, don’t seem to keep members’ wishes in mind when they make decisions.

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