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Thursday, May 3, 2012

PENSION: (Illinois) A message from We Are One Illinois

We Are One Illinois    
Call your state representative and senator now!
Use the toll-free We Are One Illinois hotline by clicking here or calling 888-412-6570.

For more than a year, Big Business interests have been waging an unrelenting campaign to eliminate public-sector defined-benefit pensions in Illinois. Time and again, the We Are One Illinois labor coalition has fought them to a standstill.

Now that battle has gotten even tougher. With the state budget in crisis, due in part to the enormous unfunded pension liability that must be paid down, political leaders are starting to jump on the pension slashing bandwagon.

Last week Governor Quinn came out with a plan that would drastically reduce retirement benefits for current teachers, state employees and university employees (hired before Jan. 1, 2011). Quinn wants to raise the retirement age to 67, reduce the annual cost-of-living (COLA) increase, base the COLA on simple interest rather than compounding AND require employees to pay an additional 3% toward their pensions. The Governor is claiming that legal opinions support the constitutionality of his approach.

We Are One Illinois immediately issued a statement rejecting the Quinn plan, which would shift responsibility for the unfunded liability to employees—despite the fact that those same employees have always paid their share into the pension funds, while the state has too often failed to do so. The labor coalition also disputed Quinn’s claim that his plan would pass constitutional muster.

Here’s what’s really disturbing, though: Growing numbers of legislators who have stood with us against slashing pension benefits in the past are now voicing support for the Governor’s plan.

We can stop these draconian pension cuts, just as we stopped similar efforts in the past, but we have to act right now.

Call your state representative and senator now!
Use the toll-free We Are One Illinois hotline by clicking here or calling 888-412-6570.

Tell your legislators that you want them to oppose Governor Quinn’s proposed pension changes which attempt to solve the pension funding crisis entirely on the backs of public employees.

No doubt the pension underfunding problem is dire, and ensuring that our pension systems are sound is a top priority for all public employees. But labor’s position is clear: Any changes to the pension systems must be fair to employees, constitutional, and developed through a process that includes the unions that represent public employees.

Send that message with calls to your legislators TODAY. Don’t wait. Retirement security is on the line!

Thanks for your continued support.

We Are One Illinois