Tag Archives: Union

Opposition to the Illinois Pension Amendment Forming Unlikely Partners

You don’t often see the conservative Illinois Policy Institute, the Illinois Green Party and the state’s largest employee union united for a cause. But when the cause is a constitutional amendment that may or may not have an effect on the state’s disastrous pension situation, their hands are joined in opposition. Derided last spring as an empty and meaningless gesture by the General Assembly, Constitutional Amendment 49 suddenly has become controversial.

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Teachers Union

Springfield journalist Scott Reeder says the state’s second largest teachers union needs to learn a lesson from the people it represents: “Teachers unions have long prided themselves as champions of free speech and academic freedom.  But it appears they don’t always practice what they preach.”

More Possible Teacher Strikes To Come?

The Illinois Policy Institute has never minced words in expressing its dislike of public sector unions. Last month’s teachers’ strike in Chicago, the IPI says, has emboldened public unions across Illinois – from downstate teachers’ unions to the 39,000 AFSCME members under Gov. Pat Quinn’s control. Those unions are positioning themselves for possible strikes, the IPI writes in a report titled “Contagion: Nothing Spreads Like Greed.”

Chicago Teachers Union vs. Emanuel

The Chicago teachers’ strike made Chicago the focus of national attention as a powerful Democratic mayor squared off against an equally powerful teachers’ union. Today the Chicago Teachers Union is set to vote on the contract at the center of the strike. Whether Mayor Rahm Emanuel or the CTU “won” is open to debate. Who didn’t win? Students, who lost seven school days. 

Labor Issues

 “The district will be hard-pressed to make the budget adjustments necessary to close an estimated $1 billion budget gap for fiscal 2014. In particular, the duration of the recent CTU strike demonstrates that labor issues may continue to be a ratings factor.” Moody’s Investor Service, which last week downgraded Chicago Public Schools’ credit rating for the second time since July.

Pat Quinn vs AFSCME: Breakdown

What are the issues in the ongoing dispute between Gov. Pat Quinn and the union that represents 39,000 of his employees? The State Journal-Register has a breakdown.

Emanuel and the new Teachers Contract

Mayor Emanuel could go a long way toward paying for the new teachers contract — without closing schools, raising class size or laying off teachers — by reversing financial maneuvers he ordered last year to prop up the city budget, according to the Sun-Times. Emanuel stripped teachers of a previously negotiated, 4 percent pay raise and used the $80 million in savings to pay the Chicago Police Department retroactively, going back to 2009. The question now is whether Emanuel is willing to reverse that maneuver to help defray the $295 million, four-year cost of the new teachers contract and ease pressure on a school system that has drained every penny of its reserves and faces a $1 billion shortfall next year.

Chicago Teachers Strike

There are endless reasons why Chicago teachers say they went on strike. Pay, charter school growth, unfair evaluations, teacher recall, the over-use of standardized tests, the “privatization” of public education, poor teaching and learning conditions, anger toward Mayor Rahm Emanuel and on and on. But for many a Chicago teacher, no reason was more pressing than the prospect of mass school closings in this city.

The Sun-Times has reported rumors (http://bit.ly/SeCyNn) of as many as 100 school closings, while the Chicago Tribune cites sources saying 80 to 120 schools will be targeted on the South and West Sides, which have seen significant population declines. City and schools officials adamantly deny these estimates, but refuse to offer a firm number. CPS’ spokeswoman says the scope and timing is still being hammered out. It should go without saying that the more open and inclusive CPS is as it heads down this difficult road, the better.

The Strike Has Ended.

The strike may be over, but Chicago Public Schools, like every other public body in Illinois, has a major pension funding problem on its hands. http://www.cnbc.com/id/49091211

Illinois Watchdog

Chicago public school teachers are on strike, rallying for better pay, benefits and working conditions. That much we know. But what about the parents sick of a failing school system? Who will address their needs? When can they strike and demand a better education for their children? They can’t, reports Illinois Watchdog.

“Teachers get to walk out and demand better conditions, better pay and better benefits. But parents cannot walk out and say, ‘We want more and better things for the money we are giving,’” said Joy Pullmann, an education research fellow at The Heartland Institute.

All that leaves parents without the means to send their children to expensive private or parochial schools left with is one option: charter schools.

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