Retired state workers in Illinois now know how much they will be required to contribute to their health care costs. The details are in the tentative contract agreement between the state and AFSCME.
The pact also will give the state the savings it had already been counting on.
Until now, state and university employees who retired after long government careers had not been required to pay any health care premiums. A new state law changed that, but how much they would pay was subject to contract negotiations, which dragged on for 15 months.
Illinois’ largest public employees' union is talking more about a strike. Henry Bayer, Executive Director of AFSCME, said contract talks with the governor's office are going nowhere.
Bayer told Illinois Public Radio that a strike is a real possibility, and he said Governor Quinn is the catalyst. Bayer said Quinn's termination of the union's previous contract and his attempts to force cuts in pay and benefits has workers ready to go on the picket line.
Over the protests of state employee unions, an Illinois House committee gave bipartisan support to a plan intended to repair Illinois' underfunded pensions. But the full House adjourned Monday without taking a vote.
The legislation would leave workers paying more for a smaller retirement benefit. House Republican leader Tom Cross said the change is necessary given the condition of Illinois' pension systems.
Illinois’ friends of labor must be feeling a double-whammy double-cross , as Gov. Pat Quinn last month terminated the state’s contract with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and House Speaker Mike Madigan revived his dormant resolution to limit raises to people who work for the state.