Call for Madigan (an invite with warmest regards)
Michael Madigan refuses to meet with the public union coalition We Are One, who have called a summit in Burr Ridge for February 11th to discuss reasonable and constitutional methods of alleviating the crushing debt facing Illinois after nearly a half century of not making payments to the pension funds – a period of time for which Speaker Madigan presided for almost 40 years.
Of course, it probably won’t be productive for the Speaker to be present anyway, given his comments in the abrasive response posted to AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan’s We Are One offer. In his letter, he reminds the coalition that they had their chance in 2012, but “I felt there was little willingness from representatives of labor to draft a comprehensive, common-sense solution.”
What was the common sense and comprehensive solution Madigan wanted instead?
For one, he called for an immediate benefits reduction by AFSCME to start. The Speaker was bitter about the organization’s refusal to “ratify a contract that decreases the take-home pay of its employees.”
The Speaker also made clear the too elevated a position in the nation of our public servants, identifying “Illinois (as having) the fourth highest average state worker pay, including overtime.”
Having the longer perspective of experience, especially when it comes to dealing with those in the private sector (Sears, CME, Caterpillar, etc.) who would treat unions much differently (Caterpillar) or decry the cost of any pensions at all (Civic Committee), Speaker Madigan suggests We Are One might want to “recognize(s) the state’s serious fiscal condition and put(s) government employees on par with those in the private sector relative to a benefits package.”
Finally, he’d rather endorse his pet project called HB6258 (put forward by Rep. Elaine Nekritz and Senator Daniel Biss), which would – after stripping benefits for current and future retirees – “put Illinois on a path to preserving the state’s pension systems.”
On the other hand, even a master of the emolument increase and other deliberately vague political manipulations should be present to hear suggestions put forth in good faith and with regard for the protections provided by the Illinois Constitution.
Remember to call or email the Speaker on Friday, February 8th. This week our message is plain and simple: You must talk to the unions to find real pension solutions.
Rep. Michael J. Madigan
22nd District Office
6500 South Pulaski Road
Chicago, IL 60629
(773) 581-9414 (fax)
300 State House
Springfield, IL 62706