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IL public unions: No more deals on pension reform

By   /   June 19, 2013  /   News  /   5 Comments

By Benjamin Yount | Illinois Watchdog

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois’ public sector unions are not interested in a new pension reform proposal. Unions bosses are telling lawmakers they are done making deals.

In two Illinois legislative panels Tuesday, union leaders reminded lawmakers that public sector unions negotiated a pension reform plan, then demanded it be voted on.

We Are One Illinois coalition leader Mike Carrigan said the union-backed plan, Senate President John Cullerton’s SB2404, is the last and final offer.


Carrigan said unions members are not interested in a new plan or cost shifting structure. state Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, said if unions hold out, the rest of the state will suffer.


As Carrigan was taking a hard line in the House, the Senate got the same message from the Illinois Education Association’s Will Lovett.


The Senate appears to be leaning toward a pension cost shift plan as a possible new pension reform proposal. The plan began as a cost shift for Illinois’ colleges and universities, but was shot down as a guaranteed path to a tuition increase.

Cullerton went out of his way Tuesday to debunk those claims.


Republicans still have problems with costs and constitutionality claims for both pension reform proposals.

State Rep. Dave McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, bristled at Carrigan and the union leaders’ claim that anything but the union negotiated pension reform plan is unconstitutional.


McSweeney’s comments came one day after other suburban, conservative lawmakers said the only real solution for Illinois’ pension crisis is to switch from a defined benefit plans to 401(k) style retirement accounts for public workers.

Contact Benjamin Yount at [email protected] and find him on Twitter @ILWatchdog.


Ben formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • Burt Constable

    The state does not have the money and neither do the taxpayers!!! It is time to stop the unions and the Illinois constitution does not work

  • Burt Constable

    The state will not suffer (taxpayers) will suffer. The Union is only concerned with getting as much money as possible. Cut all colas and switch to a 401 K or lay off 50 % of the state workers, just like the rest of have experienced. Then stop state spending except on emergencies

  • Linda

    This isn’t a Union issue — they are speaking for the workers! They’ve worked hard and often in dangerous and short-staffed situations. No one is getting rich with the pension being paid — it isn’t being “given” to employees. They have contributed 8.5% of their wage as well as the required FICA contribution of 7.5%. If you contribute 16% of your wage to your retirement, you should be able to have it! The state of Illinois because of poor leadership/management by our legislators and governors must now pay up! The bill has come due and we as taxpayers owe this debt. Don’t blame the worker for working and making “required” contributions to their pension plans — put the blame where it belongs….the people who have run this state into the ground and done so blatantly and with no regard for the end result — Madigan and his fellow lawmakers!

  • goldwing.rider

    So you want to take all the criminals home with you? Private sector unions want money to and the cost of products go up because of it which hits everyone’s pocket books as well. The public has been living off public sector union retirement benefits for a long time so time to take up the slack. Lay off half the prison workers and you can take the killers home with you. Be careful what you ask for.

  • Annuitant

    The state set up the pension laws for their employees which included employee pension contributions and not participating in social security which saved the state money. The state needs to pay its contractually obligated share and pay the interest on the skipped contributions to the system.