All posts by admin

Undo Tier 2

If you are an education employee hired after Jan. 1, 2011, you are enrolled in Tier Two of either the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), the State Universities Retirement System (SURS) or the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF). In a nutshell, this means you have to work until age 67 to retire with your full benefits. Your peers hired prior to this date only have to work until age 55, if they have 35 years of service. There are also drastic differences in the salary your retirement income will be based upon and on the cost-of-living adjustments your pension earns post-retirement. We believe Tier 2 is a major flaw in our pension system, and it is causing many to switch careers or choose not to begin a career in education in the first place. 

As you know, educators in TRS and SURS do not pay into Social Security. Federal law allows government agencies to do this, as long as the benefits those agencies offer are at least equal to what Social Security pays, a law known as the “Safe Harbor” provision. There are real concerns that the current Tier Two system for these educators will violate the Safe Harbor provision this year, which could trigger financial repercussions for the state of Illinois. We are trying to change this and have filed legislation (Senate Bill 2024) to do so. We will be needing your help. 

For more information, see below, and watch for opportunities to take action. 

Get the Facts

IEA Reports on the State of Education

The Illinois Education Association released the results from its annual State of Education survey. 1000 Illinois residents were polled in January, 2024, about their views on education in Illinois. The participants were chosen randomly, and the poll has a 95% confidence rate.

The survey found that the public supports the following solutions toward making education better in Illinois:

  • More funding for schools, teachers, and paraprofessionals
  • Ensuring fair benefits for retirement
  • Investment in mental health and making schools safer
  • Students with special needs having the resources they need to succeed
  • Teachers and parents leading in the classroom without input from politicians.

Illinoisans’ grades for local schools have improved and continue to outpace statewide and national equivalents. The pubic supports policies that support school employees. Illinoisans have strong feelings about the challenges facing education and educators today, especially with questions regarding book bans and Critical Race Theory.

For the press release and full results of the survey, please visit the IEA State of Education website.

JB Addresses NUEA Delegates

Thursday, March 14, 2024 – The Illinois Education Association begin its Representative Assembly (RA) in Rosemont with an address from governor JB Pritzker. During his address, Pritzker offered his support to all educators, including certified staff members and Education Support Personnel (ESP’s).

Pritzker also highlighted the following achievements under his tenure as governor:

  • Increased education funding by $1.7 billion
  • Dedicated $5 million toward the Teacher Vacancy Program, resulting in adding 5384 new teachers to public schools in Illinois
  • Tripled scholarship for new teachers
  • Quadrupled the teacher minimum wage
  • Increased pension contributions every year
  • In 2023, US News and World Report recognized Illinois high school students as #2 in the nation for college readiness.
  • In 2023, CNBC named Illinois as the #2 best state overall in education quality.
  • Illinois has the highest graduation rate in 13 years.
  • Teacher retention is at an all time high.

The Naperville Unit Education Association has 15 delegates attending the RA out of a total of 1032 delegates in attendance. Special thank you to Gov. Pritzker for addressing our members and for continuing to advocate for our staff and our students.

Judges Visit NUEA RA

Two local judges addressed NUEA building reps and the Executive Board at their February representative assembly meeting. Joe Hettel is currently running for Appellate Justice in the Third District and Jennifer Barron is running for DuPage County Judge in the 18th Judicial Circuit. Both candidates are currently running in contested primary elections.

They spoke about how recent changes to the appointment process by the Supreme Court have placed more experienced judges into positions for which they are most qualified, rather than simply relying on cronyism to fill judicial vacancies. Both Hettle and Barron were appointed to their positions by the Illinois Supreme Court, and they are now running to remain in those positions.

Hettel spent his career defending women’s rights and protecting children. He values compassion and common sense, and has the experience to do the job well. Barron is endorsed by Personal PAC, which is Illinois’ leading pro-choice organization. She is an active leader in District 204, where she served as PTA President at Owen and Still, and she still serves on the board for the Indian Prarie Educational Foundation.

NUEA does not take a formal position in judicial primaries, but many other labor organizations have endorsed Hettel and Barron.

Time to Fix the Broken Tier 2 Pension System in Illinois

The Tier 2 pension system affects ALL public educators (teachers, education support professionals and higher ed) who started employment on or after Jan. 1, 2011. In this video, IEA member Jessica Ward breaks it down perfectly for teachers, who pay into TRS. Fixing the Tier 2 pension system for all educators–participating in TRS, IMRF and SURS–is our union’s #1 priority for the Spring legislative session. For more info on Tier 2, check out our fact sheet:

Tier 2 pensions are unfair, inequitable and undermine the retirement funds of educators that first started teaching after 2010. Teachers shouldn’t have to work until they are 67 years old to access their full retirement. We should fix Tier 2 because it’s the right thing to do and it would also mean making strides in addressing the teacher shortage crisis. This week, IEA members testified in front of the House Personnel and Pensions Committee to fight the system that serves to divide our union and find solutions. The IEA was joined by the IFT, AFSCME Council 31 and IL AFL-CIO. Thank you to our members for advocating for a Tier 2 fix and to our lawmakers for hearing our concerns.For more information on Tier 1 and Tier 2.

WEP and GPO restrictions are not fair to our members!

More than 2.5 million Americans, including many educators, have their social security benefits reduced–or lose them entirely– due to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO). That is not fair!

What is the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)? ESP members qualify for social security. While Illinois teachers & higher ed members do not qualify, the reality is that some of them work second jobs. WEP reduces the ss benefits teachers & higher ed members earn from those jobs.

What is the Government Pension Offset (GPO)? The GPO reduces–or eliminates–the social security spousal or survivor benefits. This means if you are an educator who loses a spouse, you could see your survivor benefits drastically reduced or eliminated entirely.

NEA has created an action page to contact your representative and tell them to stop unfair social security penalties. We need to FULLY REPEAL GPO and WEP!

NEA Leadership Summit

Registration for the 2024 NEA National Leadership Summit is NOW OPEN! Join us March 1-3 in Chicago. This year’s theme: Education. Democracy. Freedom. Our Right! Our Responsibility! The NEA National Leadership Summit is designed to develop activist leaders and prepare them with the knowledge and skills needed to lead thriving locals. Open to ALL members, regardless of experience level.

Best Wishes for a New Year

NUEA would like to wish everyone a happy and safe new year! On January 1, 40 years ago, our union’s legislation, the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act, officially went into effect. This was a milestone moment for education employees across the state. The IELRA gave educators the right to collectively bargain. The IELRA shaped history. We look forward to an incredible new year of bargaining fair contracts and advocating for the strong public schools our educators and our students DESERVE!