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Evening End of Session Update


This evening, the Illinois House and Senate left Springfield without a resolution on the crisis involving retirement security for hundreds of thousands of Illinois workers. For all of our members, this lack of action from Illinois lawmakers is a terrible failure. However, what is abundantly clear in Springfield tonight is that IFT members, retirees, and their families were successful in ensuring that the pension-theft proposals gained less and less support over the course of the session.
You made an important difference, again. True, it feels like the movie Groundhog Day, where the same event plays out over and over. A quick look at a post on the IFT Web site from one year ago finds the following statement…

There is no doubt that the thousands of e-mails and calls to lawmakers in the last week, along with the intense lobbying by IFT leaders, members and staff, helped bring about this result. Unfortunately, our work here is not done.
This statement is just as appropriate today. Pension slashing bills like SB 35 and SB 1 are not on their way to the Governor’s desk as many predicted. You kept fighting, and it paid off. Thank You.
But we did more than just block and tackle. This year, we put forth our own proposal and showed our willingness to share the sacrifice. Along with our labor partners in the We Are One Illinois union coalition, we were able to negotiate a reasonable, comprehensive pension bill with Senate leadership. That bill, SB 2404, passed the Senate with a significant bipartisan vote.  
We couldn't have come this far without the tireless leadership of IFT President Dan Montgomery, the ongoing support of the IFT Executive Board, the hard work of our staff, and most importantly, the dedication of our members. But as we said one year ago, our work is not done.
We ask that you don’t let up in taking the time to consistently thank the Senators who voted for our union coalition’s negotiated bill. In addition, when your State Representatives return home, talk to them about getting a bill just like SB 2404 called for a vote and passed in the Illinois House.   
We’ll move on to the next episode of pension Groundhog Day, but we won’t quit fighting until lawmakers fix the problem in the right way.
Our efforts also stopped lawmakers from shifting state pension costs onto colleges and universities that are already financially burdened.  
In other news, lawmakers passed a budget that includes essentially the same level of funding for K-12 and Higher Education as last year. The compulsory school age is moving from 7 years old to 6, and a moratorium was placed on virtual charter schools. We’ll have a detailed legislative roundup on the Web site next week.
Thank you for everything you do - for our communities and our union. When we fight smart and as one, we win.



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