Pension thieves and union busters.

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Sun-Times poll.

Mark Glennon was one of Governor Rauner’s point men on pension thievery.

Glennon publishes an online site called Wirepoints.

What is helpful about Glennon is that he and his web site embody the right wing’s key anti-worker agenda items in a single one-stop shop: Pension thievery and union busting.

It also demonstrates how out of touch they are with the public.

Polling on the issue of public pensions shows that most people in Illinois believe that pension promises should be kept.

Today’s Sun-Times released a poll showing that half of those asked support the Chicago Teacher Union in their current negotiations, even if they strike.

The poll also provides evidence that Chicagoans are not interested in demonizing either Mayor Lightfoot or CTU President Jesse Sharkey.

Both are committed to the process.

To me this  demonstrates that the public supports quality public schools AND understands how collective bargaining works.

Glennon’s Wirepoints tries to paint a different picture.

What gives the Chicago Teachers Union the power to strike – or threaten to strike – every time they don’t like a new contract proposal? How can the union maintain such a combative stance and get away with it? How can they strand Chicago families and children – the very people they are supposed to serve – at a whim?

One of the answers lies in the state’s collective bargaining rules. They are among the most anti-taxpayer labor laws in the country. Take strikes, for example. Illinois is the only state among its neighbors that enshrines teacher strikes in its collective bargaining laws. In contrast, strikes are illegal in Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky and Iowa.

In fact, Illinois is one of just 12 states nationally where teacher strikes are legal, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Strikes in the other 38 states are illegal, either explicitly or because collective bargaining is outlawed to begin with.

Again, recent polling shows how out of touch the union busters and pension thieves are.

Public support for unions and collective bargaining are at historic highs.

When teachers walked off the job in Right-to-Work states across the Red State South, the public supported them.

And because of public support for teachers and public schools, the states were politically powerless to stop the walkouts, even though they were illegal.

6 thoughts on “Pension thieves and union busters.

  1. I read your piece on pension thieves and decided to look into the salaries of the states Glennon mentioned: all are below Illinois. [IL: $59,000; WI: 56,700; Indiana: 56,000; Missouri: 56,000; Kentucky: 54,000; Iowa: 55,000.] Of course I’m aware that other aspects (insurance, where people live; ie) might make this different, but Illinois cannot supply the teachers it needs today. Should we pay teachers less? Not unless we we want to create students who don’t know anything because they learned from someone who is unqualified–like many of the for-profit private schools that DeVoss pushes. My nieces and nephew went to a Christian school in Tennessee and claimed the education they received there was terrible: two of them are teachers now. I have been a member of a union for nearly all of my life and am glad that I had the opportunity. That someone would wish to take that away from other workers is abhorrent.

  2. Legit question, what initiatives can be taken to deal with the pension issue? I’ve only become aware of some of these issues, and so it has left me confused.

    Is there even an issue? What of the $120 something billion in liabilities?

    Is there somewhere I can get a more in depth understanding of the issue?

    Thank you for any response.

    1. Louis. If this is a new issue for you, search teacher pensions on this blog and I would suggest googling Glen Brown’s blog.

      1. You don’t say whether you support illegal strikes — are you willing to confirm that you do?

        What is the principle for supporting illegal strikes while opposing pension cutbacks on the basis that they are illegal contract impairments? What would your opinion be if a majority of the population supported pension cutbacks? How do you decide what laws to support and what laws to violate?

        Can you explain what the Rule of Law means to you?

        Take your time. Lots of well-educated civics teachers will be interested in your responses.

      2. I can confirm that I believe the right to strike is a universal democratic right, that workers own their labor and should have the absolute right to decide under what conditions they withhold it.

        History is full of examples where immoral laws required acts of disobedience.

        Martin Luther King in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail:

        One may well ask, “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws: there are just laws, and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “An unjust law is no law at all.” Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine when a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law, or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality.

        Well-educated civics teachers would do well to include Martin Luther King in their curriculum..

  3. I expect you don’t often find yourself in agreement with Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch! I’d wager that the three of you wouldn’t be unanimous in what laws are just or unjust. Certainly your formulation derives from some respected authorities — none of whom went to law school.

    Applied to people collectively (as would be the case with limiting carbon emissions or gun ownership) we might agree that humans collectively should trump (excuse the expression) the interests of individuals. A harder case might contrast the interests of students vs those of teachers in teacher strikes. And where do the interests of taxpayers and parents come in? It seems to me that legislators and judges should consider all these interests and balance those legitimate interests with your “ownership of labor” principle.. If the issue were pharmaceutical prices based on patents I would expect you to deplore the U.S. system and to favor regulation or worse. What would you say about doctors’ strikes or soldier strikes or police strikes? I think I know what you’d say about cake-bakers’ withholding their labor from certain customers.

    I happen to agree with you on civics teachers but expect that those who might be strong advocates of civil disobedience (of laws they think are unjust) would soon draw attention from the school board due to parent complaints. Likewise Scrooge-like kindergarten teachers who teach that Santa and the Tooth Fairy are fictional.

    “Laws are those wise restraints that keep [us] free.” There are ways to challenge unjust laws and have input on whether or not they should be enforced by a legitimate authority … that is an authority having “the consent of [all] the governed. Generally Illinois law is very supportive of public pensions and public employee strikes so your natural law views have not been subject to a real test where organized public disruption has exposed strikers to any real downside.

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