Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Teachers Unions Should Get Blame for Quinn vs. Rauner Election Campaign Fiasco

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn gives his victory speech at the Carpenters Union Hall.
As a member of both teachers unions, the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) and the Illinois Education Association (IEA), I was surprised when current Illinois Governor Pat Quinn showed up for his primary election celebration at the Carpenters Union Hall in Chicago.

How could a labor union like the carpenters be endorsing a governor who supported a pension bill that screwed teachers.  The IFT is part of the AFL-CIO--same as the carpenters!  Shouldn't the carpenters join the teachers by opposing Quinn?

Then the news came out this week that the Service Employees International Union of Illinois also endorsed Quinn.

Can endorsements from the IFT and IEA be far behind?

Shouldn't these unions dump Quinn for his support of Speaker Mike Madigan's pension bill which royally screwed downstate and suburban teachers?

The wife and I crossed over in the primary, asked for Republican ballots, and voted for Kirk Dillard, the former WIU frat boy.  I was holding my nose the entire time I was in the polling booth!

As most readers know, the two teachers unions endorsed frat boy Dillard despite the fact that he is anti-gay marriage, pro-life, and pro-gun.  The ads running on downstate radio stations trumpeted Dillard's stance on all these issues, never mentioning the union support or Dillard's "no" vote on Quinn's pension bill.

Dillard lost, but teacher support closed a 20 point gap to only three percentage points.

So now we are faced with Quinn or Bruce Rauner.  What a choice!

I will never vote for Quinn or for any other politician who voted to dump the 3% cost of living adjustment for my pension.  Never!  I'll never vote for Rauner either.

So it looks like I'm sitting this election out!

Quinn will wheedle his way into the good graces of what his opponent calls the "union bosses," and teachers will crawl back and vote for the lesser of two evils.  I can hear the rhetoric from the unions now:  "Do you want another Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker?"  "Governor Quinn believes in raising the minimum wage!"  "Pat Quinn is a friend of organized labor!"


Pat Quinn is the worst political hack in the state, and that's saying something in Illinois.  I've written before about his phony populist campaigns of the 1970's when he and his entourage would arrive at the radio station in Galesburg, and the news director would literally hide in the janitor's closet so that he wouldn't have to listen to Quinn's babbling.

We teachers are the ones who helped Quinn defeat Bill Brady four years ago.  Quinn was running behind during the entire campaign.  Brady was so confident of victory he started releasing his plans for what he was going to do in Springfield prior to election day.  The polls all said Quinn was toast.

Then the teachers stepped up.  We voted for Governor Gadfly in droves in 2008, and the thanks we got was a pension bill that makes active teachers work longer for less money and screws retirees out of their 3% annual cost of living adjustment.

Who caused this mess?  I blame the teachers unions.

As far back as 2002, the teachers unions were supporting jailbird Rod Blagojevich in the primary because he was married to Chicago Alderman Dick Mell's daughter Patti.  Mel's another political hack.  The IFT and the IEA even supported Blagojevich in the 2006 election when they knew he was dirty. 

Bruce Rauner declares victory on primary election night.
Rauner talks about the back-room deals that union leaders made with the state legislators in order to boost the union leaders' pensions.  Rauner is right, and we're going to be hearing all about it during the upcoming campaign.

For example, Reg Weaver, the former IEA president, gets a Illinois Teachers Retirement (TRS) pension of $242, 657 a year, according to the Chicago Tribune.  Weaver is able to roll over his union salary into TRS.  Other state union executives have subbed one day in the classroom in order to have their union salaries rolled into TRS.  This is wrong!

All of these examples of union leaders cozying up to Illinois legislators in order to enrich themselves will be coming your way in Rauner's TV ads.  Get ready!

I always thought that union officials were supposed to be workers who did the union business out of the goodness of their hearts.  This obviously is not so.  Cinda Clickna, current IEA president, made $197,212 during the 2012-13 school year.  Clickna won't have to worry about losing her COLA with a pension like she'll have.  The rest of us?  We're blankin' worried!

So until the teachers unions clean up their acts and put their own houses in order, I'm going back to my WIU days and proclaim myself a GDI--God Damned Independent!

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