Bid for Foreman in 2FM

Dear Member,

This morning the City’s Department of Human Resources posted a bid for a Foreman of Laborers position in the Department of Fleet and Facilities Management (also known as 2FM).  The bid will remain up for two weeks.  If you are interested you must apply online at cityofchicago.org, and be sure to follow each instruction to the letter.  Be as descriptive and comprehensive as you can when explaining your past work experience.  Call us if you have any questions about the position or would like assistance applying.  You can find the bid here.  We have been working a long time to get this position in 2FM, and are happy the bid is finally posted.

The Illinois Budget

As we discussed at the meeting this week, legislators in Springfield overrode the Governor’s veto, which finally gave the state a budget after 2 years.  These legislators fought against the Governor’s slash and burn tactics, and acted in the best interests of the citizens of Illinois to keep social service programs running, and infrastructure projects going too.  Many of them will face Rauner-funded primary opponents because of it.  Please call your legislator to thank him or her for their vote (all city legislators voted to pass the budget).  They need to know they will be supported in their efforts to stand up to our failure of a Governor.

Below is a link to type in your address and find the contact info for your State Representative and State Legislator.  It is temporarily offline this morning but should return soon.  Every member should get to know their legislators personally, and make your voices heard.

http://www.elections.il.gov/districtlocator/addressfinder.aspx

 

In Solidarity,

 

Joe

Negotiations with the City

Yesterday, the Sun-Times published an editorial calling for the City to “drive a harder bargain with its 27,000 unionized workers”.  Last week, the City’s Inspector General issued a report calling on the City to, among other things:

1. Remove the “traditional work” provision of the contract that protects our jurisdiction;
a. The IG thinks the City should choose if Laborers get to perform our own work.

2. Stop paying the “prevailing wage”, which is the standard construction wage in the area, and decrease annual cost of living increases;
a. The IG thinks the prevailing wage pays Laborers too much money, and our salary increases are too high.

3. Increase the amount employees pay towards our health insurance.
a. The IG thinks we don’t pay enough for the health insurance benefit we get.

Make no mistake, the editorial and the IG report are direct attacks on your standard of living.  They ignore the value you add to the City, its residents, and your own neighborhoods, where you live and pay taxes every day.  Read the report for yourself, it’s riddled with inaccuracies and shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how labor relations operates. It displays a reckless disregard for the contributions we make to the City and its taxpayers, and the cooperative stance we’ve taken to address the City’s financial issues.  It overlooks, among other things, the furlough agreement we entered into to assist the City during the Great Recession.  It overlooks the Apprenticeship Agreement we entered into to provide the City with a better trained workforce.  Further, it overlooks steps the City was able to take without our consent, namely the removal of retiree healthcare subsidies and the establishment of a second tier of pension benefits.

The City is using the media and its own Inspector General to advocate for its positions at the bargaining table.  It’s nothing new.  We simply must stand together to protect our livelihoods.  Together, we have the power to protect our wages and our benefits.  Together, we have the power to protect our working conditions and our jobs.  Together, we have the power to strike if the City refuses to recognize our value.    Our union, united, will never be divided.

Transfer Requests

For those of you employed by the City’s Department of Water Management or the Department of Aviation, tomorrow begins the one month period during which you can turn in transfer requests.

As a reminder, you can turn in transfer requests whether you are seasonal or career service, but they can only be granted if you are career service at the time the vacancy occurs (and if you are the most senior person with a transfer request filed for that vacancy).

For those of you in DWM, if you just want to switch districts, or get to a district from New Construction, do not check any lines in the “Assignments” column.  Just check one choice in the Location column and one choice in the “Shift” column.  Choosing “Any” in each of those columns will give you the best chance of having a transfer granted.

Remember: make sure to get your transfer request time-stamped by a Foreman or other supervisor by the end of June, and keep a copy for yourself.

A Memorial Day Message from LiUNA’s General President

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This Memorial Day weekend, while many of us will have time to spend with friends and family, thousands of brave men and women in the armed services are far from home and family and living in daily danger. Their sacrifices and heroism and those who have willingly laid down their lives to protect our democracy and freedom must never be forgotten.

Our nation’s veterans deserve our honor, respect and appreciation on Memorial Day and every day of the year. On behalf of the entire LIUNA General Executive Board, I wish each and every one of you an enjoyable holiday and hope that you will also take time to reflect on those who sacrificed themselves to keep us safe.

With kind regards, I am

 

Fraternally yours,

Terry Sig

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dangerous Pension Bills

 

 

Make the call to stop pension cuts

Call your state representative TODAY to urge a NO vote on SB 16, HB 4027, HB 4045 or any other bill that cuts the pensions of public employees. Dial 888-412-6570 or Click to Call<http://www.weareoneillinois.org/click-to-call>.

 

In recent years, the Illinois Supreme Court has twice found legislation reducing the pension benefits of active and retired public employees to be unconstitutional. So why does Governor Rauner keep pushing to cut public employee pensions—and why are some legislators going along with him?

 

It’s important to note that no legislation before the General Assembly would cut the pension benefits of current retirees. There is widespread acceptance that the court has flatly rejected any reductions in the pensions of those who have already retired. And it’s important to remember that, despite strong opposition from the unions of We Are One Illinois, the General Assembly acted in 2010 to significantly reduce the pension benefits of all those hired after January 1, 2011 (Tier 2 pension participants). The courts have consistently ruled that only the benefits of current employees and retirees are constitutionally protected. Benefit reductions—or even elimination—are legal for any employee not yet hired at the time changes to the pension code are made.

 

Rauner and some in the General Assembly are focused on finding ways to get around the constitutional prohibition against cutting the benefits of all employees hired before 1/1/2011 (Tier 1 participants). Relying on the principle of “consideration”, they argue that if employees are given something in return for the reduction in benefits, then the cuts would be constitutional. Each of Senate Bill 16, House Bill 4027 and House Bill 4045 are based on this “consideration” model, as are several other bills that have been introduced.

 

SB 16, HB 4027 and HB 4045 affect all Tier 1 active employees in the Teachers Retirement System (TRS), State Employees Retirement System (SERS), State Universities Retirement System (SURS) and Chicago Teachers Pension Fund. Each requires employees to make an irrevocable choice between:

 

  1. Accepting a delay and reduction in his/her cost-of-living annual adjustment when he/she retires; or
  2. Agreeing that his/her pension benefit would be calculated using only his/her current salary, excluding all future pay increases from calculation of his/her benefit.

 

These bills attempt to compensate employees who choose Option 1 above by providing for a “consideration payment” of 10% of an employee’s past pension contributions and lowering the employee’s future contribution rate by 10%. However, the amount that the employee receives through this payment would be far short of the amount he/she would lose.

 

Union attorneys argue that this scheme does not meet the “consideration” standard<http://www.weareoneillinois.org/news/statement-on-so-called-consideration-model-pension-changes> but rather is an involuntary and forced diminishment because either choice represents a reduction of benefits. No matter which choice an employee makes, he/she would lose tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of dollars over the course of his/her retirement years.

 

Moreover, the bills threaten further harm to retirement security because they initiate a process of moving new employees out of all the state’s pension systems and placing them in a defined-contribution plan. This will have the effect of reducing contributions into the systems, thus exacerbating the underfunding that has consistently plagued all the systems.

 

On May 17, the Senate passed SB 16 with bipartisan support and little debate. Click here to read a summary of the bill<http://www.weareoneillinois.org/documents/SB16_pension_cuts_summary.pdf> and here to see how senators voted<http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/votehistory/100/senate/10000SB0016_05172017_010000T.pdf>.

 

Now the battle shifts to the House of Representatives. HB 4027 and HB 4045 (which have the same core provisions as SB 16) passed the House Pension Committee earlier this week, but a number of those who voted to allow them to move out of committee made clear they intend to vote against them on the floor.

 

At this time, we don’t know whether the House will vote on SB 16, HB 4027 or HB 4045. But one of these bills is very likely to come to the House floor in the next few days.

 

It’s critical that you call your state representative TODAY to urge a NO vote on SB 16, HB 4027, HB 4045 or any other bill that cuts the pensions of public employees. Dial 888-412-6570 or Click to Call<http://www.weareoneillinois.org/click-to-call>. Make clear that these bills are unconstitutional, unfair, and you expect your representative to OPPOSE them.