SPRINGFIELD-The coalition of labor unions fighting to preserve cost-of-living increases for retired state workers and teachers condemned a new pension-reform package pushed Tuesday by House Speaker Michael Madigan as "illegal" and threatened a legal challenge if it passes.
Madigan's bill overhauls Senate-passed legislation favored by Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and significantly reels in the size of cost-of-living increases by as much as one-third over 20 years of retirement, according to the "We Are One Illinois" coalition.
Here's the statement from the coalition, which comprises the AFL/CIO of Illinois, Illinois Education Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers, AFSCME Council 31, SEIU and Illinois Nurses Association:
"Our coalition has said time and again that we oppose unfair, unconstitutional pension cuts. Public workers and retirees should not be punished for a problem politicians created.
"While we want to work together to solve the pension problem, the amendment filed today by the House Speaker represents the same illegal approach to slashing hard-earned life savings protected by the Illinois Constitution. Should it become law, we believe a successful legal challenge is all but certain, with the bill saving nothing and the state's budget problems made worse."