Watch the Press Conference Video
Sen. Matt Murphy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Blue Room Press Conference, Thompson Center, Chicago
October 12, 2011
Union Leadership Draining Millions from Public Pensions
Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine) and Adam Andrzejewski, founder For The Good of Illinois endorse reform measure (SB2499)
Chicago- Today, Murphy and Andrzejewski called on the general assembly to close the sweetheart pension loopholes that have allowed union leadership to drain tens of millions in retirement pensions from rank-and-file public employees. The pension abuse was first identified in Chicago. A career union leader was re-hired for one day at the City of Chicago and then retired with a $158,000 city pension.
However, pension abuse at the state level looms even larger. Up to $47 million from the teachers’ retirement system has already been paid to leaders of the National Education Association (NEA), Illinois Education Association (IEA), Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT), and Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) who are not government employees.
“Abuses like these needlessly fuel public cynicism and undermine the sustainability of pension systems that are already the worst-funded in the nation,” State Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine) said. “The average public school retiree draws an annual pension of $46,452; however, in one case, a former teacher-turned-union-executive is drawing a pension of $242,000 a year, the equivalent of six retired teachers’ pay.”
“Government pensions should go to government workers, period,” said Adam Andrzejewski. “The pension system for the hard working teacher and public servant is being drained by insiders with special pension privileges. Senate bill 2499 would protect our public employee pensions from politically clouted insiders.”
Private, non-profit organizations and unions exert so much muscle in Springfield that they’ve literally written themselves into the government’s pension code. Senate Bill 2499 would end this pension loophole.
“Union leaders who are not government workers are draining millions of dollars from the hard working rank-and-file public employee’s pension system each year. This is flat out unacceptable for taxpayers and for public employees,” said Adam Andrzejewski, founder of the non-profit, For the Good of Illinois. Their transparency project, www.openthebooks.com posts the pay and pensions of virtually every public employee at every level of Illinois government. The state level pension abuse was discovered by citizens using the portal.
In fact, the second highest Illinois teacher pension ($20,200 per month) goes to the former President of the NEA (Washington, DC). It’s predicated off his union earnings, not his elementary school teacher pay.
Collectively, thirty-four retired union leaders pull-out nearly $340,000 per month in Illinois teachers’ retirement pension. Twenty-one of them have already collected more than $1 million individually.
Three of the top six largest pensions in the municipal retirement fund are paid to retirees from non-profit, non-government organizations: Park District Risk Management Association ($20,125 per month), Illinois Association of Park Districts ($18,436 per month), Illinois Municipal League ($15,076). All organizations participated in end of career salary spiking to maximize the government pensions.
Senate Bill 2499 would stop non-governmental employees from access to all public pension systems.
Support for this reform legislation should be bi-partisan and unanimous.
Sen. Matt Murphy- For more information, visit www.senatormattmurphy.com or call (847) 776-1490.
Adam Andrzejewski is founder of For The Good of Illinois, a 501(c)4 non-profit organization. www.forthegoodofillinois.org. For more information, contact him at 630.899.9191.