Pensions Become Less Certain For Government Workers

by Alan Greenblatt

December 11, 201310:04 AM
 Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn smiles during the signing of the pension overhaul legislation bill on Dec. 5 in Chicago. Looking on from left are: Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington; Senate GOP leader Sen. Christine Radogno; Rep. Darlene Senger, R-Naperville; Rep. Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs; House Speaker Michael Madigan and Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn smiles during the signing of the pension overhaul legislation bill on Dec. 5 in Chicago. Looking on from left are: Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington; Senate GOP leader Sen. Christine Radogno; Rep. Darlene Senger, R-Naperville; Rep. Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs; House Speaker Michael Madigan and Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago. M. Spencer Green/AP

Federal workers have reason to be nervous. The budget agreement announced Tuesday — if it passes — would raise revenue by making employees contribute more toward their pensions.

It’s part of a trend. Governments at all levels have been cutting back on pension benefits in recent years, in an attempt to fix funding problems caused by the recession and years of fiscal mismanagement.

In many cases, states and localities have made benefits less generous. But that has, for the most part, only affected newly-hired workers.

Last week, Illinois changed its pension law, taking away cost-of-living increases for current workers and retirees. The law passed in tandem with a ruling by a federal bankruptcy judge that Detroit could cut benefits promised to already-retired city employees. Continue reading “Pensions Become Less Certain For Government Workers”

Progressives Must Stand Up Against the Right Wing War on Public Employees

politics

Progressives Must Stand Up Against the Right Wing War on Public Employees

Robert Creamer

Political Organizer, Strategist, Author; Partner Democracy Partners

Posted: 12/09/2013 7:31 am

For many years the American Right — and many of the most powerful elements of corporate and Wall Street elite — have conducted a war on public employees.

Their campaign has taken many forms. They have tried to slash the number of public sector jobs, cut the pay and benefits of public sector workers, and do away with public employee rights to collective bargaining. They have discredited the value of the work performed by public employees — like teachers, police and firefighters — going so far as to argue that “real jobs” are created only by the private sector.

Last week a conservative court ruled that by going through bankruptcy the city of Detroit could rid itself of its obligation under the state constitution to make good on its pension commitments to its retirees. Continue reading “Progressives Must Stand Up Against the Right Wing War on Public Employees”

Ill. pension fight could create deeper fiscal hole

20 hours ago  •  By SARA BURNETT

With the fight over solving Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation pension shortfall now headed to the courts, the financially troubled state faces a grim possibility: The plan could be tossed, and Illinois could wind up in an even deeper fiscal hole than the one it’s in now.

Legislative leaders, anticipating a legal challenge from public-employee unions once the landmark bill approved Tuesday is signed, went extra lengths to bolster the law’s odds in the courtroom _ including an unusual three-page preamble to the legislation in which they lay out their case for cutting worker and retiree benefits.

But legal experts say those efforts could mean little in a state that provides some of the country’s stronger constitutional protections of pension benefits.

They point to Arizona as a possible warning sign. In 2012, a judge there said a law raising the employee contribution to pension benefits was illegal, and ordered the state to repay the money to workers _ with interest. Continue reading “Ill. pension fight could create deeper fiscal hole”

Chicago’s Federal Workers To Congress: Stop Political Games, Avoid Government Shutdown (VIDEO)

With the threat of a government shutdown getting closer by the hour, more than 60 federal civilian employees protested at Chicago’s Federal Plaza Monday, calling on Congress to “stop the lockout.” Progress Illinois attended the rally.

With the threat of a government shutdown getting closer by the hour, more than 60 federal civilian employees protested at Chicago’s Federal Plaza Monday afternoon, calling on Congress to “stop the lockout.”

A number of the union members, represented by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), said they are among some 800,000 federal employees deemed “non-essential” who could be furloughed if the government shuts down Tuesday, the start of the 2014 fiscal year. Continue reading “Chicago’s Federal Workers To Congress: Stop Political Games, Avoid Government Shutdown (VIDEO)”

As shutdown looms, federal employees in Chicago protest

As shutdown looms, federal employees in Chicago protest

By David Roeder Staff Reporter September 30, 2013 4:57PM

Updated: October 1, 2013 2:24AM

Unionized federal workers bracing for a government shutdown angrily called on Congress to end its budgetary stalemate Monday, saying furloughs would hurt the economy and the delivery of important services.

Members of the American Federation of Government Employees staged a lunch-hour rally at Federal Plaza, 230 S. Dearborn.

“We have dedicated public servants here. They’re basically being used as guinea pigs,” said Mike Mikulka, an environmental engineer and a vice president of the union. “Lawmakers had all summer to do their job and fund the government.” Continue reading “As shutdown looms, federal employees in Chicago protest”