Happy constitution day!

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Bob Zahniser, John Dillon, Bob Lyons, me and Glen Brown with the historic headline: “Court strikes pension law.”

I’m still in Brooklyn this morning.

I’m missing the celebration luncheon with my fellow pension warriors.

Today, May 8th, is the third anniversary of the Illinois Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the pension protection clause of our constitution.

The ruling by the court was unanimous:

In the face of a crisis the state itself created, it can use its legislative and police powers to take away the promised pensions of public employees, then nobody’s rights and property are safe.

On the first anniversary of the win I posted:

Monday I’m having lunch with the old guys in Lombard at the Greek restaurant.

It will be celebratory.

Monday is the first anniversary of the Illinois Supreme Court decision that upheld the pension protection clause of the Illinois Constitution.

The lunch group are all retired teachers. And we all were and are active in the fight to protect public pensions from politicians. A bi-partisan effort on our part to save it and a bi-partisan effort on the part of the politicians to steal it.

Yep. One of our guys is a Republican. Although I would say he is more of an Eisenhower Republican.

He certainly  is not a Trump Republican.

Some of us old guys blog and are what former IEA President Bob Haisman calls the perfection caucus. Or The Bloggers.

As if perfection and blogging were two of the seven deadly sins.

That deal would have cost every retired public employee thousands of dollars in pensions and opened the door wide for even further diminishment of our promised retirement earnings.

Frankly, when it comes to the rights of working folks, I don’t trust the legislators or the courts. It just seemed clear to us that we had a better chance in the courts than with Springfield politicians.

I never thought it was ever a lock either way.

As it turns out, their approach was wrong.

And we, and the thousands of other public employees who fought with us for pension rights, were correct.

Although I am still waiting for the union leaders to say that.

The fight isn’t over, of course.

Since the court ruled, the legislature has created a third tier, opening the door for turning defined benefit pensions into private 401(k)-type plans.

And Tier II members in TRS are still screwed.

And there is still the $130 billion liability, the unpaid debt to the pension plans.

And any solution in the form of a progressive income tax can’t even be on the ballot until 2020 at the earliest.

But the win in the cours in 2015 was historic.

Happy constitution day!

3 thoughts on “Happy constitution day!

  1. What a handsome group of guys (& 3 years in, I’ll bet you still are–political activity preserves youth, don’tcha know {a hint to all of you out there who are NOT politically active or, more likely, a message to spread to your friends, neighbor & relatives})* Anyway, thanks to all of you for leading the good fight to preserve our pensions, & for everything else you do.
    *I’m thinking that most of you reading/commenting on Fred’s blog are activists.
    Yes, WE can! Yes, WE did, And a big yes…YES WE WILL!

  2. We had the knife plunged into our backs by the the legislators. The Illinois Supreme Court pulled the knife back out and stitched us back up. But the pain of that betrayal and the scar remain. We know what the legislature and governor would do to us retirees if they could. Remain vigilant!

  3. In fact, I think it’s also Teacher Appreciation Day–THE day (I know, it’s the whole week, but just for today every educator gets free tacos & Chick-a-Fils!!!

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