Thursday, May 10, 2018

An Addendum to What I Said to Some Friends about Our Pensions Yesterday Evening

We must defend our constitutionally-guaranteed rights and benefits without apologies, without concessions, and without compromise.

We can never become complacent in our belief that most Illinois policymakers, the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Civic Federation, Illinois Policy Institute, and media can be fully trusted to make ethical and legal decisions that affect public employees and retirees. We can never become indifferent to political power and what exorbitant wealth can buy.

We should know policymakers often pass laws for their own advantage, and we should remember that despite their pledges to uphold the State and U.S. Constitutions, their criteria for justice include their consideration for what is most expedient for them: their re-election and, for most of them, their corporate connections for lucrative lobbying or other extortionate jobs when they retire.

It is up to us to protect our future by opposing any so-called pension reform and any modifications of contract principles through a “consideration” that will diminish and impair Article XIII, Section 5 of the Illinois Constitution.

When another assault occurs, it would be our challenge once again to defend our defined-benefit pension plan with tenacious resolve. Just like a few years ago, our primary task would be to enlist every teacher and every state employee in a unification of purpose to protect our benefits and rights, for they have been constitutionally-guaranteed by a myriad of Illinois Supreme Court rulings for decades.

This type of undertaking would again necessitate our pro-active and continual engagement with members of the Illinois General Assembly; it would demand that we wage war against the powerful interests of the wealthy who support them; it would also require the edification of our colleagues and the poorly-misinformed public.

Both active and retired teachers are intrinsically bound to one another in this crucial common cause. Our solidarity is essential. As Martin Luther King once eloquently stated, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”

We must continue to be vigilant. Our goal has always been the preservation of our legal and moral rights, not only for us but for all state workers in Illinois. To oppose any attacks on our pensions and healthcare has always commanded us to act upon principles we believe are so valuable, that to do nothing would be an even greater injustice.

-Glen Brown


  1. From John Dillon:

    Well said, my friend. The rumors and discussions of choice and consideration are once again being murmured in Springfield as the state continues its minimum payments to the pension fund, a union-hating governor delusionally believes there was no real line drawn on May 8th by the ILSC, all the politicians cringe away from finding real revenue answers in an antiquated and broken revenue system. We always agreed they'd be coming again...


  2. If we retirees will not defend ourselves and our deferred earned income (pensions), why would we expect others to do so for us? We must act to save ourselves.
    Some vague concept of justice without actively seeking it is not enough.
    Believing in legislative fairness in the political scene of 2018 America is not enough.
    Magical thinking that deludes us into believing that injustice simply cannot happen to us is not enough.
    Thoughts and prayers are not enough.
    Waiting for someone else to save us is both delusional and not enough.
    Belief in the two party system and the free market as forms of fairness is not enough.
    Awaiting a political messiah who will wipe away any threats and dangers to the American way of life as it existed in a glorified past is not enough.
    Cursing the corruption called government is not enough.
    We must never be willing victims - never, ever.
    What can we do to avoid penury, suffering and a slow, miserable death?
    Glen clearly states what is happening and what we need to do. It is up to all retiree to defend themselves and each other. Complacency is for losers. Refuse to become a loser.