12/05/2014 - A Sangamon County Circuit Court judge ruled before Thanksgiving that an Illinois law aimed at easing the state's unfunded pension liability is unconstitutional, handing a victory to labor unions and state retirees who challenged the law. The law decreases cost-of-living adjustments, caps pensionable salaries and raises retirement ages. It also decreases employee contributions by one percentage point, creates a defined contribution plan for a portion of employees and gives the state retirement systems authority to sue the state to compel it to make required pension contributions.
Judge John Belz ruled that the law, passed Dec. 3, 2013, violates the state's constitutional clause that pension benefits “shall not be diminished or impaired.” In doing so, Belz rejected the state's argument that its ability to invoke its sovereign powers in an emergency trumps protections in the state constitution for pensions. The state is expected to appeal Mr. Belz's decision to the Illinois Supreme Court. More athttp://tinyurl.com/mnl8tr4.
“This is great news,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance. “Those pensions were promised to Illinois retirees, and that promise should be kept, as the law states.”
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) is retiring after 40 years of dedicated public service, including the championing of policies and legislation benefiting Social Security and Medicare recipients and their families. One of those pieces of legislation was the Strengthening Social Security Act (S.567), designed to immediately increase current benefits by about $800 annually, improve Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) and ensure the program’s future to make retirement more secure for our children and grandchildren, too. To thank Sen. Harkin for his years of service - and pledge to support the Alliance in doing all you can to help secure his legacy with the reintroduction and passage of this important legislation in the 114th United States Congress - go to http://tinyurl.com/lbp577e.
11/10/2014 - The 2014 Midterm Elections and Beyond
After months of electioneering, phone banks, door knocks, and billions of dollars spent in campaign ads, the book has closed on the 2014 midterm elections. The APWU is truly appreciative of all active and retired members and our Auxiliary who took time out of their lives to engage in this year’s elections.
A Republican tide swept over the country Tuesday, giving the GOP full control of Congress. The GOP’s crowning achievement was capturing a majority in the U.S. Senate. Republicans have picked up seven Senate seats and will have at least 52, with Alaska still counting and Louisiana going to a December 6 runoff – a wider margin than most had thought likely just a few weeks ago. House Republicans picked up more than a dozen seats and will likely have roughly 250 House seats for the first time since before the Great Depression, depending on how too-close-to-call races break.
As Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 4 draws near, APWU President Mark Dimondstein, the APWU National Executive Board, and all National Officers have one simple message for APWU members: exercise your right to vote.
10/31/2014 - Tuesday, November 4 is Election Day, and seniors in every state will be affected by the results. If right-wing extremists take over both houses of Congress, then Social Security and Medicare will be direct targets of the majority in both the House and Senate. And if anti-worker, anti-retiree governors take over state houses, then pensions are at risk, as well.
10/24/2014 - Get involved before it is too late – Election Day is around the corner!
Election Day is just two weeks away and in several states, the polls are already open. In many contests, the margin of victory is expected to be extremely small. Control of the United States Senate and many governorships will hinge on the outcome of a number of tight contests where the candidates are separated by only percent or two or two in the polls.