Cairo Association of Teachers - Newsletter

CAT Tracks for December 2, 2004

The following was posted on the IEA website on December 1st...

Legislative News
ERO Update


The House Personnel and Pensions Committee met on Monday, November 29, to discuss the ERO extension legislation. It was more of a beginning bargaining session than a hearing on a bill, with no dramatic developments but some progress to report.

First, the "no dramatic developments part" - all of the parties engaged in restating the positions articulated at the November 18 committee meeting on ERO. Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, through his staff representatives, repeated that the committee wants to review and address:

* The cost in increased unfunded liability ($870 million) to TRS.

* Elimination of the payment waiver ("free:" ERO) for those with 34 years of service.

* How to shift more costs for this benefit away from the state and toward teachers and districts.

* "Abuses" in locally bargained early retirement incentives and sick leave accumulation for pension purposes

* Making ERO an employer option rather than a state benefit. This mirrors what has been done in Chicago.

IEA’s position is that we want the current benefit extended for the benefit of teachers and school districts and that we continue to be willing to engage in constructive negotiations to achieve this end.

The parties are actually beginning to talk about resolving this issue and we think that this is progress. All of the participating state representatives said that they want to work to resolve this, raising the possibility of a vote when the veto session resumes on January 10 and 11. We think that a desire to reach a solution sooner rather than later is a good sign.

IEA representatives will participate in the December 8 House Pensions Committee meeting at 9:00 a.m. for the purpose of continuing talks on ERO.