WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Unions Hint Lawmakers Missed Chance To Negotiate Pensions

Jul 28, 2014
Originally published on July 28, 2014 6:10 am

Legislators passed a law overhauling the state's retirement systems. Soaring pension debt remains a concern. The law's constitutionality is also in question. It reduces workers' and retirees' benefits, and raises the retirement age.

Senate President John Cullerton suggested to the Chicago Tribune that workers be given a choice. He's essentially returning to a concept previously agreed to by a coalition of public employee unions. The model called for asking workers to give up annual, compounded pension bumps, or the salary upon which a workers' pension is based would effectively be frozen. 

Unions don't seem interested in going back to that compromise now. Here's spokesman Anders Lindall:

"The politicians rejected that last year, and plunged ahead with an unfair, and we believe, clearly unconstitutional template," Lindall said.

Lindall says until a court decision on the pension law is reached, there's "no room to continue discussions." The case is currently in a Sangamon County Circuit Court.

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