Fox Valley Labor News staff reports
Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016
CHICAGO — Days away from his second State of the State address, Gov. Bruce Rauner is trying to distract from the fact he has failed to pass a state budget during his first year in office by announcing he will now support Democratic Senate President John Cullerton’s pension proposal — only Cullerton says it’s not his plan.
Hours after Rauners’ announcement, Cullerton released a statement and spoke out about the governor’s remarks.
“It’s not my plan. It goes beyond what we discussed and beyond what I support.” The statement also highlighted what he called a “fundamental disagreement role the role of collective bargaining.” He firmly believes collective bargaining should continue to exist, and the governor does not share that ideal.
Last spring, Cullerton called for a “consideration” model, which would offer public employees a “choice” between receiving cost-of-living-increases, or including pay raises in the calculation of their retirement benefits.
Rauner said he wants to take that unconstitutional model further by including a legislative poison pill, proposing to take away workers’ rights to bargain salary increases with their employers.
Rauner insists that removing the right to bargain over wags would ensure the new bill passes constitutional muster.
Sen. Linda Holmes said she will not support any pension reform plan that would remove wage considerations from collective bargaining. “It’s another attack on organized labor,” she stressed.
We Are One Illinois coalition of unions called on the governor to give up on his damaging personal obsession against unions and finally get to work on the real issues impaction our state.
“Our coalition has always advocated a responsible solution to the pension funding issue that is both constitutional and fair. His disregard for working families is causing irreparable harm to children and communities across Illinois.
To add to the governor’s bone-headed ideas, a day earlier, his legislative allies proposed a plan for a state takeover of Chicago Public Schools (CPS).
The legislation was called a “lifeline” that would allow an oversight board to take over Chicago Public Schools (CPS), as it drowns in a $500 million budget deficit, and create a path to bankruptcy.
While there were no actual legislation to unveil, two bills will soon be introduced “within the week” to allow CPS and also the city of Chicago to declare bankruptcy, while the other wold create an oversight board for CPS.
In a statement, Cullerton said it won’t happen. “It’s mean-spirited and evidence of their total lack of knowledge of the real problems facing Chicago Public Schools.”
The bankruptcy idea was announced as CPS continues to meet around-the-clock with the Chicago Teachers Union on making a deal that would avert the need for up to 5,000 layoffs.