Meeting announcement, November 17, 2015

16 November 2015

AFSCME Sub-chapter 161

Dear member:

We will meet again at Ruby Tuesdays Restaurant at 5203 Old Orchard Road, Skokie, IL on Wednesday, 18th of November. The meeting starts at 11 AM.

Jason Kay will be our guest speaker. Mr. Kay is one of Council 31’s lobbyists. He is part of Council 31’s political staff. This month’s meeting will be focusing on PEOPLE and the retiree role in the upcoming election year. Jason has been involved in Council 31’s political efforts in Springfield for a number of years. I’ve asked him to share his perspective on what’s happened and what we need to be doing in order to support Council 31’s work to protect our pensions and benefits.

This will be a working meeting for members. We have unfinished election work. During the open discussion period, I will be listening for ideas of what we can do as political activists during 2016.

We need ideas for continuing our effort to build a active membership through person -to-person efforts and alliances with other organizations. I will bring materials from the recent conference as discussion aides.


Charlie Hogan


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Meeting Announcement, September 16, 2015


9 September 2015

AFSCME Sub-chapter 161

Dear member:

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

The business of this meeting is twofold: 1) Election of officers, executive board members, and trustees. 2) With the failure of the Illinois House vote to override the Governor Rauner’s veto of SB1229, there is a probability of a lockout or strike.

In our last meeting. Ms Jo Patton, of Council 31’s staff, laid out the the hostile actions of the governor’s bargaining team during the current negotiations. With the defeat of SB1229’s override vote, Council 31 and AFSCME Retiree Council 31 have decided on a joint course of action.

The bargaining team will continue to bargain for a contract acceptable to the state workers covered by the master contract. Our Union will fight, hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst (impasse and lockout). When this happens, the retirees will have a role in this fight.

The second piece of business will be a discussion of how we can re-tool and apply past and current work to this threat.

There are no winners in a strike. Economically, it will touch all of us. Our goal will be to prepare to deter the strike if we can, and help our union prevail if it happens. The purpose of deterrence is to tell your adversary that his chances of success are exceedingly slim to none at all.


Charles Hogan, President


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Illinois AFL-CIO Response to House Vote on 1229

Rauner’s political assault defeats fair arbitration bill

By slim margin, House fails to override veto after unprecedented threats to legislators

Following an intense barrage of false claims about the fair arbitration bill by the Rauner Administration, naked threats of political retaliation by the Republican leadership and paid attacks by right-wing super-PACs, the Illinois House of Representatives today fell three votes shy of the 71 needed to override the governor’s veto and enact Senate Bill 1229.

Although the bill did nothing more than extend to child protection workers, nurses, caregivers, emergency responders and other state employees the same independent arbitration process provided to police, fire and other public safety personnel in Illinois for more than 30 years, the Rauner Administration justified its veto with an array of false claims about the bill’s provisions, constitutionality and potential cost, as well as unsubstantiated ad hominem attacks on the independence and fair-mindedness of arbitration professionals.

Multi-million-dollar super PACs allied with the governor — including Turnaround Illinois and the Koch Brothers-funded Americans For Prosperity — flooded legislative districts with robocalls and attack ads that repeated many of the same false claims, confusing voters about the bill’s true intent.

In reality, public service workers and their unions supported SB 1229 to help avert the potential conflict, hardship and disruption of a statewide strike or lockout by offering arbitration as an alternative means of resolving contract disputes between state employees’ unions and the Rauner Administration if ongoing negotiations fail to produce agreements.

Finally today, House Republican leadership publicly threatened rank-and-file lawmakers with political retaliation if they voted to enact the bill–a threat that longtime statehouse watchers called unprecedented in its brazenness.

“The governor’s ferocious and false attacks on this moderate and responsible bill clearly show he wants conflict, not compromise,” Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan said. “The governor’s assault on this bill may have won the day but poisoned the well for legislators of both parties who want to work together responsibly to solve problems and serve the people of Illinois. It is clear that Governor Rauner will stop at nothing to carry out his scorched-earth agenda against working people, their rights and well-being.”

“Day in and day out, public service workers in state government keep us safe, care for veterans, protect kids and much more,” said Roberta Lynch, executive director of the largest union of state employees, AFSCME Council 31. “State employees don’t want to be forced out on strike, but we’re determined not to let Governor Rauner undercut workers’ rights, jeopardize workplace safety or threaten the economic security of working families.”

As a candidate, Governor Rauner repeatedly vowed to “take a strike and shut down state government for a few weeks” in order to force workers to accept his extreme demands. More recently, the governor has made stripping the rights of workers to bargain collectively a precondition of enacting a state budget. And in a possible signal that he is preparing to provoke a work stoppage, the Rauner Administration has solicited retirees to serve as strike breakers and reportedly considered mobilizing the National Guard.

The governor’s assault on the arbitration provisions of SB 1229 has now derailed the best hope of amicably settling union contracts that are fair to all.

“The Illinois labor movement will remain united,” Carrigan said. “Even though today’s outcome is deeply disappointing, we appreciate that the vast majority of legislators stood with working people and did the right thing. Our fight to protect the middle class from the governor’s extreme agenda is only just beginning.”


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Bulletin Board Items: posted August 19, 2015

Click on any underlined word to view complete item

From Jo Patton, speaker at August 19 meeting

Governor Rauner is making extreme and harmful demands at the bargaining table that he knows state workers can’t possibly agree to. Here’s what member should do.


Sample letters to editors for members who wish to express their opinions publicly.

From Charlie Hogan

From Lori Clark, Jane Addams Senior Caucus–Moral Monday rally

From Rich Miller’s Capitol Fax, Roberta Lynch’s response to Governor Rauner

From Crain’s Chicago Business, Wednesday, August 19, 2015

From WEEKLY RETIREE NEWS DIGEST, Volume 20, August 8 – August 14

 View AFSCME Retirees on Facebook

SPECIAL AFSCME VIDEO: Kids Try Out Right-Wing Ideas

This video was released Wednesday morning has a follow up to the first Republican debate.


AFSCME Press Releases/Statements from Pres. Saunders

Here’s to 80 Years of Social Security — and at Least 80 More

by Lee Saunders  |  August 14, 2015

Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act 80 years ago this week, but if you read what his critics were saying about it at the time, you might think it was just yesterday. It was a job killer and an attack on Big Business. In the words of Delaware Sen. Daniel Hastings, it would “end the progress of a great country.”



Retirement: A Party We All Want to Attend

Bailey Childers | August 14, 2015

Today we are wishing a happy 80th birthday to Social Security, one of the foremost accomplishments of the last century in providing Americans with a secure retirement. Formed in the wake of the Great Depression, Social Security helps Americans who work hard and play by the rules have a chance at a modest and secure retirement.


From the AFSCME Blog

After 66 Years on the Job, No Worries

by Pablo Ros  |  August 10, 2015

Tim Hyman in his office at the Maryland State Highway Administration explains the use of the Speed Graphic camera on his desk.

The longest-serving state employee in Maryland is about to retire, but don’t ask him about his retirement plans. After 66 years on the job as staff photographer for the State Highway Administration, Tim Hyman says he doesn’t have any.

(Corporate) America’s Embarrassing Income Gap

by Omar Tewfik  |  August 12, 2015

In yet another sign that rising income inequality is unsettling our nation, the SEC ruled that starting in 2017 most publicly traded companies must identify and disclose how much CEOs make relative to the median salary of rank-and-file employees.

In yet another sign that rising income inequality is unsettling our nation, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ruled that starting in 2017 most publicly traded companies must identify and disclose how much CEOs make relative to the median salary (middle salary) of rank-and-file employees.

Letter: AFSCME responds to Rauner claims  

Darren Williams, President, Local 3600, Lawrence Correctional Center. Daily News, 8/10/2015 3:08:00 PM

As he attacks teacher pensions, Rauner also makes money from them 

Ben Joravsky, Chicago Reader, August 12, 2015

For better and for worse, Governor Bruce Rauner has never made a secret of his deep contempt­—bordering on hatred—for the Chicago Teachers Union …. So imagine my surprise when I got a call from a source I’ll call Cockburn—because he doesn’t want to be identified—informing me that Rauner’s old private equity firm was a paid consultant to the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund. …. A spokeswoman for Rauner now stresses he retired from day-to-day control of GTCR­ before running for office—so stop bugging him about this stuff.  But he hadn’t retired when he made those comments three years ago, and he still has an ownership stake in the firm.

From Chaya Rubenstein (S.O.R.E):

About FoodDrinkEurope

Next meeting of the Coalition to Restore Democracy

From Ron Cox (guest at last lunch meeting, retired CPS teacher)

Organizing for Bernie Sanders

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Meeting Announcement for August 19, 2015

15 August 2015

AFSCME Sub-chapter 161

Dear member:

We will meet again at Ruby Tuesdays Restaurant at 5203 Old Orchard Road, Skokie, Il. on Wednesday, 19th August. The meeting starts at 11 AM.

This meeting’s speaker is Ms. Jo Patton. She is part of Council 31’s staff and will be giving us an update on contract negotiations. As you know, the negotiating process has been hostile and drawn out because of the Governor’s hostility to public sector unions. We are engaged in a unique and necessary fight to win a fair contract. Tied to this fight is a parallel one to prevent the administration’s cutting of critical services that seniors and family members depend upon.

Come to the meeting and feel free to invite friends. I expect the discussion will be as lively as Jo’s briefing. One of the assets that members have is to be “scouts” in their families and communities. You often provide new information about issues and attitudes unavailable in regular news channels. You make our meeting a two way street of information.

Charlie Hogan

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Important message from Dave Amerson for all retirees

Good morning all,

 I want to talk to everyone about what’s going on with state contract negotiations and our role in this situation.

 The most important thing for our Retirees to know is that state contract negotiations WILL impact them. Most notably, the Rauner administration is continuing to press for major cuts to the State Group Health Insurance Plan. By some estimates, his proposal would result in a 500% increase to out-of-pocket costs for Retirees as well as state workers on state health insurance plans.

Now, some members may ask: “didn’t the Supreme Court recently rule that they can’t come after our health care?”  We need to constantly reinform them that the ruling in the Kanerva case only dealt with charging retirees premiums– and did not affect rising out-of-pocket costs. This should be apparent to all our state and university members since they already saw their co-pays go up on January 1.

Currently, our contract negotiations will continue until October 1. At that point, it seems extremely likely that the Governor will declare an impasse in bargaining leaving us with two options: accept the governor’s proposal- including all the parts that would impact Retirees; or go out on strike. We have not had a state wide strike in 40 years of bargaining, and it is not something that any public servant wants to see happen as it would adversely affect the communities we serve. Rauner knows this, but as we have seen time and time again he is fundamentally opposed to any state services that assist our most vulnerable citizens.

Right now though, there is another option. SB 1229 would forego the possibility of a strike and send our contract proposals to an arbitrator. This would allow state services to continue and not put at risk all the people and communities that our members serve.

This bill has already passed the House and Senate, but then was vetoed by Governor Rauner. Now, we need to get enough votes for a veto override, and by all accounts it’s going to be an extremely close vote.

We need all of our members to call their state senator and state representative and urge them to vote Yes on the veto override.  Attached is a flyer that we are circulating with the union’s legislative hotline that will connect you directly to your state rep and senator. If you are unable to view the flyer on your computer, we are asking Retirees to:

Call 888-912-5959 and follow the prompts to be connected to your elected official.

When connected tell them:

“I support Senate Bill 1229, which helps keep state government working and ensures fairness for state employees. I urge you to vote to override the Governor’s veto.”

If you get a voicemail, leave a message. If its busy keep trying. Basically, keep calling and don’t give up- there’s simply too much at stake.

In the next week or so I will also start rolling out the various pieces of Retiree involvement in the coming fight to secure a fair contract. This will include community outreach and communicating to our members (and the general public) what is at stake this fall. But for now, we need every retiree, family member, and friend to call their state rep and senator about SB 1229.


David Amerson


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Message from Walter Esler

David Rolston has asked me to pass this invitation along. Perhaps it could be included in your parish or congregation’s weekly bulletin:

On Thursday, August 13 The North Side Greens will host a discussion of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” Based on the motion picture of the same name. Start time: 7:00 pm.

The meeting takes place at Irving Park United Methodist Church
3801 North Keeler Avenue, Chicago – Floor 2 Meeting room.

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