Announcements September 12, 2014

13 September 2014

AFSCME Sub-chapter 161

Dear member;

We will meet again at Ruby Tuesdays Restaurant at 5203 Old Orchard Road, Skokie, Il. On Wednesday, September 17th.The meeting starts at 11 AM.

Our guest speaker will be Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund field Representative, Ms. Bonnie Shadid. Whether an IMRF member or a non-member, you will find her presentation interesting and timely. IMRF isn’t setup like other public pensions. Currently, it is 96% funded. In spite of its fiscal strength, Representative Deborah Conroy attempted to pass a law that would have eliminated the 13th check. This is only one of many attempts to alter a perfectly sound retirement Fund. Which leads me to conclude that we must stay vigilant while building our ability to protect our pensions.

This weekend, I will be attending the state-wide PEOPLE conference in Peoria, IL. There was a last minute request from Council 31 limiting retiree attendance to Sub-Chapter Presidents. There was an upsurge in the number of Local officers attending this conference. It’s a healthy sign of interest among the working members. There is a lot of work to be done before, during, and after this critical election by workers and retirees.

I will have a conference report for the meeting and a post at our website for those who can’t attend the meeting. There will be additional reports for you to read. The CTBA has 2 reports. One analyzing the budget passed by the Illinois legislature. The second analyzing Rauner’s plan for Illinois.

See you at the meeting.

Sincerely,
Charles Hogan, President

 

Click here to go to the CBTA home page (from where you can go to their specific reports).

Click here to go directly to the CBTA analysis of Bruce Rauner’s Blueprint.

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The following message was sent to all members on our email list:

From: “Roberta Lynch, AFSCME Council 31″ <webaction@afscmeillinois.org>
Date: September 2, 2014 at 5:23:30 PM CDT
To: afscmeretirees161@gmail.com
Subject: A warning from Wisconsin
Reply-To: webaction@afscmeillinois.org
AFSCME e-Action Network

Four years ago, Scott Walker became governor of Wisconsin and launched an all-out assault on public employees. He pushed through legislation stripping state, university and city/county workers of their right to bargain collectively. The impact was immediate and devastating.

Now, billionaire CEO Bruce Rauner is running for Illinois governor and vowing to copy Walker’s extreme agenda. Our neighbors to the north have a personal message about what this would mean for AFSCME members here. Watch this brand-new video to hear directly from public-service workers in Wisconsin:

Wisc. video

After you’ve watched, here are three steps you can take to help spread the word and make a difference:

  1. Share this new video on Facebook.
  2. Email the video to your co-workers and friends.
  3. Sign up as a volunteer in your area to help stop Bruce Rauner.

In unity,

Roberta Lynch
Executive director
AFSCME Council 31

 


Click here to sign up for the AFSCME Council 31 Action Center.

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Update, August 24, 2014

The Member’s Forum contains new material from Walter Esler.

There are now additional links (see sidebar), provided by Chaya Rubenstein who visited our meeting on August 20. Ms. Rubenstein is a member of S.O.R.E. (Skokie Organization of Retired Educators).

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Announcements August 15, 2014

13 August 2014

 

AFSCME Sub-chapter 161

 

Dear member;

We will meet again at Ruby Tuesdays Restaurant at 5203 Old Orchard Road, Skokie, Il. on Wednesday, August 20th.The meeting starts at 11 AM. Our guest speaker will be Council 31’s John Cameron. John is Director of Political and Community Relations. This Fall, he will be organizing the regional PEOPLE meetings. Retiree Sub-chapter 161 is in region 1. This region consists of Chicago locals and Sub-chapters as well as those of the nearby suburbs.

On Thursday, August 28th, our PEOPLE Chair and I will meet with other PEOPLE delegates to make recommendations to the statewide PEOPLE Executive committee regarding endorsements in state legislative races.

This election is important to us. The attacks on public employees and retirees have intensified this year. So have our efforts. As of today, I’ve contacted more than 75% of our members. By September 1st, the phone volunteers will be organized into groups that will call their legislator. In past efforts, small groups attended lobby days, town hall meetings, or made office visits. These phone volunteer/constituents will add their voices to ours.

During the past 2 weeks, volunteer members joined me to attend a picnic with the Skokie Organization of retired Educators. Their president is Fred Klonski, of Klonski’s Blog fame (http://preaprez.wordpress.com/). I’m inviting them to our meeting. Four of us worked with the Jane Addams Senior Caucus. We went to the State fair in Springfield to help them register voters and sign up support for raising the minimum wage.

Voter registration, voter education, and maxing our senior turnout will be our goal in the weeks ahead. All of you have a part to play.

Sincerely,

Charles Hogan, President

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New to our website:

Members Forum now contains new posts by Walt Esler and Charlie Hogan: http://afscmeretirees161.wordpress.com/members-forum/

In addition to weekly “Alerts”, the link to Alliance for Retired Americans now includes celebratory notes for the 79th anniversary of Social Security.

There is now a link to Fred Klonsky’s blog.

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Announcements July 10, 2014

From President Charlie Hogan:

7 July 2014

AFSCME Sub-chapter 161

Dear member:

We will meet again at Ruby Tuesdays Restaurant at 5203 Old Orchard Road, Skokie,Il. on Wednesday, July 16th. The meeting starts at 11 AM.

Our speaker will be Ms. Lori Clark of the Jane Addams Senior Caucus. The Caucus is a grass roots organization lead by concerned seniors in the Chicago metropolitan area. In past rallies, town hall meetings and retiree focused events, I would meet members of the Caucus who where running or attending the event. Their priorities are affordable senior housing, improving in-home healthcare and insuring on-site social workers in senior buildings. Because of mutual concerns regarding healthcare, I’ve asked Ms. Clark to brief us on past and present JASC activities. She is also coming to meet us and learn about our work.

This past week’s political news has presented opportunities and threats that I want to cover in remarks before the floor is opened for discussion. I want to hear your ideas on informing our friends and families about the serious financial situation in Springfield. Illinois’ mainstream media is busy cranking out blame-the-pensionors/public unions stories.

Our job will be to counter the media negativity through one-on-one education and to work with our members and other allies to create the pressure, the will for real reform in Springfield.

Council 31 political staff will be organizing a GOTV effort. They have asked me to educate all our members about how to vote early and by absentee ballot. So consider how we find and deliver votes like a precinct captain. Then how to build and maintain pressure for reform. The state Supreme Court decision gave us an opportunity to re-focus the Legislature on the real problem of solving the structural deficit with a Fair Tax. The November vote is critical.

Sincerely,
Charles Hogan, President

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Recent comments by members Walt Esler and Charlie Hogan can now be viewed on the Members Forum page.

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From: “Illinois State Retirement System” <sers@srs.illinois.gov>

Sent: Monday, July 7, 2014 2:31:56 PM

Subject: New SRS Member Website

The Illinois State Retirement Systems (SRS) is pleased to announce a new interactive Member Website ( https://memberservices.srs.illinois.gov ) for our retirees and survivors.   The announcement of the new SRS Member Website will be mailed to all retirees and survivors the week of July 14th .

Use this secure website to access real-time account details and quickly manage your account, including:

  • View and print your Monthly Annuity Pay Stub (The June ’14 pay stub is available today and July ’14 pay stub will be available on July 18th.)
  • Review your SRS membership record
  • View and update your email address and phone number
  • View and print SERS forms
  • Review your 2014 Annual Benefit Statement
  • View insurance enrollment and deduction information

Additional features and enhancements to our Member Website will be implemented over the next year.   Attached are detailed instructions and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to assist you with logging into our member website.  In addition, we have included a link below to view an instructional video.   Please send your comments/questions to:   Support@srs.illinois.gov.  We appreciate your feedback and assistance in testing our new Member Website.   Thank you!!

Instructional Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTCvzjD_H7A

Support Contact Info

Below are the contact phone numbers and email addresses for the SRS Member Services website:

Technical Support   SRS Help Desk             (217) 782-4202          Support@srs.illinois.gov

SERS Support           Member Contact        (217) 524-0389          SERS@srs.illinois.gov

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To view a message about the AFSCME 41st International Convention, click here.

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Announcements June 3-13, 2014

From our President:

11 June 2014

AFSCME Sub-chapter 161

Dear member:

We will meet again at Ruby Tuesdays Restaurant at 5203 Old Orchard Road, Skokie, Il. on Wednesday, June 18th. The meeting starts at 11 AM. Our speaker will be Jason Kay for PEOPLE, the political arm of AFSCME.

With the end of the Spring legislative session, attention will shift to the November election. While this is an off year election, it still presents us with opportunities to grow in strength and numbers.

Despite the failure to get the fair Tax Referendum on the ballot, the issue of necessary funding will come up in the veto and lame duck sessions this Fall and Winter. Because of the linkage of state funding to the services we and our families depend upon, we have to keep working for a just answer.

We are all angry at the legislature’s passage of a bad pension bill last year. We were told that drastic steps had to be taken in order to fund state services that would have been cut in order to pay pension debt. That Illinois and State government were broke. Nonsense. Illinois ranks 5th in State GDP. What is lacking is the political will to change the way we are taxed.

During this meeting, we need to discuss how we can create that will in our respective legislative districts. Many of you will have ideas based on our past actions at town hall meetings or Springfield lobby days.

We should participate in the PEOPLE program. The amount of money you contribute would be what you can afford. What we need to consider is how we can leverage our activities (in kind contributions) to convince Council 31’s political staff to use PAC monies to create that political will among our legislators when they are in Springfield. Think of this meeting as part of your senior citizenship OJT. We come to learn, share and have some fun in the process.

Sincerely,
Charles Hogan, President

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Attend a Public Hearing on a minimum wage for Chicago–click here for details.

A message from Amanda Kass, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability (our speaker at the May 27 meeting):

Our analysis of the proposed FY2015 General Fund budget might be of interest. The PDF version may be viewed by clicking here. We’ll also be releasing our analysis of the new pension law in June.

To view the CTBA analysis of “The Cost of Doing Nothing” click here.

To view Two Truths and a Mystery from afscme.org, click here.

To view Friday Alerts, June 13, 2014 from Alliance for Retired Americans, click here.

To view Friday Alerts, June 6, 2014 from Alliance for Retired Americans, click here.

To view Friday Alerts, May 30, 2014 from Alliance for Retired Americans, click here.

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Announcements May 23, 2014

At the monthly meeting on May 21, our principle speaker was Amanda Kass from the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability (www.ctbaonline.org or https://m.facebook.com/centerfortaxandbudgetaccountability).

AKass talking

After providing an overview of the legislative budget process, she explained how the recent law on pensions (which appears to be unconstitutional) does very little to address the structural deficit of the state.  The slides used in her presentation may be viewed by clicking here (also available under “Meeting Materials” on menu above).

A “Friday Alert” from the Alliance for Retired Americans may be viewed by clicking here.

A letter from Senator Dan Biss may be viewed by clicking here.

A letter from Representative Robyn Gabel may be viewed by clicking here.

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Announcements May 13, 2014

13 May 2014

 AFSCME Sub-chapter 161

Dear member:

We will meet again at Ruby Tuesdays Restaurant at 5203 Old Orchard Road, Skokie, Il., on Wednesday, May 21st. The meeting starts at 11 AM.

Our guest speaker is Ms. Amanda Kass from the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. Ms. Kass’s qualifications are described below. I’ve asked her to breakdown the causes and consequences of Illinois’ chronic structural deficit. Some might feel that this is like asking the impressions of the Titanic’s lookout. It isn’t. Like the huge mass of the iceberg that is beneath the sea, the consequences of not reversing the state’s revenue shortage aren’t clearly obvious. But the damage will be widespread and generational.

I have asked Ms. Kass to educate us in order to have a consensus on just what the problem is and the work we have to do to help solve it. Before you make any call to a legislator, visit a district office, or attend a Town Hall meeting you’ll need the authority and conviction of her knowledge. The CBTA is a trusted source for budgetary advice by Springfield leaders and lawmakers. It should be ours as well. I think that her information can be used by our organized members in future actions. It can save not only our pensions and benefits, but our families’ futures as well.

In a past letter, I wrote the following:

“If politics is the art of the possible, then grassroots community action is required to create a basis for new political possibilities. We will have to build the required power to get reform in Illinois. No one will give it to us. We’ll have to fight for it, then use it. Doing nothing isn’t an option. The legislature will cut our pensions, benefits, and needed services because of money. Illinois has a debt problem because the legislators never dealt with the structural revenue problem. Our job is solving that problem.”

Sincerely,

Charles Hogan, President

 

Amanda 2

Amanda Kass is Budget Director and Pension Specialist for the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability where she focuses on the fiscal and economic effects of budgets and tax policy. Amanda is responsible for analyzing how state budget decisions affect taxpayers, families and communities. She helps develop policy proposals to enhance fiscal sustainability, equity, and accountability. She is also responsible for CTBA’s infographics and mapping. Since joining CTBA, Amanda has served on the advisory board for the IMN – Midwest Public Funds Summit and on the steering committee for Participatory Budgeting Chicago and represents the organization with the media and the public.

Amanda completed an MA in Geography from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her master’s thesis focused on post-earthquake reconstruction efforts in Haiti, which underscored the importance of fiscal policy in ensuring the public sector has the capacity to deliver crucial services. Before graduate school, she was a Geographic Information Systems Analyst for Stantec Consulting Services, an engineering consulting firm in Columbus, OH. Amanda obtained her BA from Ohio State University where she double-majored in International Studies and Geography.

 

 

 

 

 

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