AFSCME Local 2887
AFSCME Local 2887

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State Universities in Crisis

AFSCME Council 31 Bulletin

It's down to the wire in the battle over the FY 2018 budget--but Bruce Rauner continues to stonewall.  It is increasingly clear that Rauner has no real interest in resolving the longstanding budget standoff--even as our state slides steadily toward fiscal chaos--and our state universities face an unprecedented crisis.  From his first days, Rauner has targeted our universities for cutbacks--and has stood by as the lack of state funding has severely hampered their operations.

The result: more than 1,600 layoffs; 5 state universities have junk bond ratings; 130,000 low and moderate income students are losing tuition grants.  If action isn't taken soon, layoffs, faculty defections, and declining enrollment will intensify with devastating consequences.  Click here for a fact sheet on the grave damage being done to our state universities.

AFSCME Local 1989 at Northeastern Illinois University has made this powerful video which conveys what university employees all across Illinois are feeling--and facing--because of Governor Rauner's refusal to do his job and work to enact a state budget.

Rauner Pushes Again for Big Health Care Cost Shift to Employees

AFSCME Council 31 Bulletin

As legislators work down to the wire to try to reach a budget compromise, Rauner is now demanding that any final budget include massive cuts to group health insurance--based on his scheme for big hikes in employee health care costs.  State employees fought Rauner to a standoff in their contract negotiations as they stood firm against his demands for a 100% increase in employee health care premiums.  AFSCME won a court order blocking the governor from moving forward with his plan to impose those big increases on all health plan participants.

But Rauner thinks if he can get legislators to drastically slash the appropriation for employee health benefits, then his hand will be strengthened in pushing to make those big cost shifts onto employees.  Click here for a fact sheet that explains what these cost increases would mean for you.

Republican legislators are backing up his efforts.  Not only are they pushing a budget plan that makes the cuts Rauner wants, but they're also pushing for a provision that tries to bar any union contract that would require expenditures for health care beyond that reduced appropriation for the next three years.  That's clearly an attempt to invalidate any health care provision in union contracts that doesn't significantly increase employee health insurance costs.

Calls are urgently needed to state representatives and senators right away.  Call toll-free on the AFSCME Hotline at 888-912-5959.  Tell your legislators: Don't make any cuts to the CMS Group Health Insurance program.  Don't support Gov. Rauner's plan to make our health care unaffordable.

Call to Action: Ask Legislators to Oppose Pension Reform Bills SB16, HB4027, and HB4045

These reform bills revisit territory that was overturned by the Supreme Court with PA 98-599 (SB1).  Both House bills were passed out of committee and are currently on the House calendar for debate. 

These bills are quite important to those who are currently working and under Tier I.  These bills would require Tier I employees to elect one of two options: (1) to accept a reduced and delayed automatic annual increase in retirement (the lesser of 3 percent or 1/2 of the increase in CPI-U, non-compounded, beginning the January on or after the earlier of age 67 or five years after retirement); or (2) to keep the current Tier I automatic annual increase in retirement (3 percent compounded, beginning the January after retirement).

Each Tier I employee who elects to accept the reduced and delayed automatic annual increase in retirement will: receive a payment equal to 10 percent of his or her employee contributions made before the effective date of the election (which will not count towards his or her pension); pay reduced employee contributions moving forward (7.2 percent for regular employees and 8.55 percent for public safety employees); and have his or her future earnings increases count towards his or her pension.

Each Tier I employee who elects to keep the current Tier I automatic annual increase in retirement will not have his or her future earnings increases count towards his or her pension.