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It is unfortunate that CPS has once again forced the CTU teachers to go on strike. I was afraid this was going to happen when the mayor started negotiating via the news media. Inaccurate and inflated accounts of offers to the teachers filled the evening news. This was done in an attempt to vilify the teachers and the union. Very disappointing, I had hoped the new mayor would not engage in such low tactics that were championed by her predecessors.
Good for you for supporting CTU on its strike.
How about fighting for Illinois teachers to get full Social Security benefits? I get around $89 a month and it plus a hefty payment check each year allows me to get Medicare.
Why Aren’t All Teachers Covered By Social Security?
Today, the majority of uncovered teachers work in 15 states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Texas) and the District of Columbia. Additional states have varied coverage where some teachers remain left out….
Today, federal law allows any state or local retirement system to modify their Section 218 agreement and join the program (states that opt into coverage can’t subsequently opt out). Certain states have state-level legislation that prohibit teachers from extending coverage, but most states do not have these barriers.This provides an opportunity for states to reconsider their decades-old decisions. While not sufficient as a stand-alone benefit, Social Security could provide teachers with a floor of secure, inflation-protected, and portable benefits – something many teachers don’t have and genuinely need.
Tier 1 pensions are better then social security. Tier 2 pensions are worse then social security. Tier 2 will have to be improved or school districts will have to pay to retroactively enroll retiring teachers into social security going back to when each teacher started. That would take care of the employer contribution, but who will pay the employee portion is unclear. If a retiring teacher is required to pay back what they would have paid into social security (100s of thousands of dollars), most of them could not do it. It would be better to bring up Tier 2 pensions to at least as good as social security. If states and local school districts have to pay into social security, they would use that as an excuse to discontinue their pensions entirely.
A totally separate but extremely important thing to push for is outright repeal of the WEP/GPO law, which steals earned social security benefits and survivor benefits from teachers (and others with state and other governmental pensions). Most teachers have been forced to work second jobs to supplement their income from teaching. They pay into and earn social security benefits. When they apply for their earned social security, they are given only a small fraction of it because of their governmental (teachers) pension.
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I am a retired elementary art teacher, union guy, political activist, artist and blogger. I taught for 28 years in Park Ridge, Illinois and was President of the local union for 10 years.
View all posts by Fred Klonsky