IEA President Cinda Klickna presiding over the IEA Representative Assembly (left). Glen Brown and me at the 2015 RA as elected delegates.
The past few days Glen Brown and I have been having a conversation, sharing our reaction to Eric Madiar’s recent statements on pension reform.
For years Madiar was Senate President Cullerton consigliere on all things pension.
I posted Madiar’s op-ed from the State Journal-Register on Monday.
Glen also posted it, along with two other excerpts from a longer recent article by Madiar yesterday and today.
They are important reads.
First. To be clear, the pensions of current public employee retirees in Illinois are protected as protected can be by the May, 2015 ruling of the Illinois Supreme Court. On that point, there is no debate.
The issue that Madiar takes on is whether or not unions representing current active employees can, through the collective bargaining process, modify pension benefits in spite of the Illinois Constitution’s pension protection clause. Madiar suggests that there is legal precedent as long as they follow contract law.
“In short, New York court decisions indicate that duly authorized unions may collectively bargain over and waive the protected pension benefit rights of their members in exchange for consideration.”
“Whether Illinois courts will reach the same broad conclusion as New York courts with respect to Illinois public sector labor unions under our Pension Clause remains to be seen. Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, however, has expressed interest in not waiting long to find out.”
Yesterday I wrote how Glen and I tried at the 2015 Illinois Education Association Representative Assembly, to get an iron-clad promise from the leadership of the IEA not to bargain away what we had won in the courts. The leadership refused, claiming it would “tie their hands.”
Every current active public employee in a union should be concerned that without an iron-clad promise not to do so from their union leadership, their pension benefits may be bargained away.
I was asked what pension reform should our unions be advocating.
There is only one.
Raise revenue and demand that the state pay what they owe.