A group of public employee unions in a coalition called “We Are One Illinois” is rejecting a bill that would restructure pensions, but say they are open to negotiations. The coalition says they want to sit down with legislators and hash out a deal that would protect current and future retirees. They say the state must guarantee pension funding, close corporate tax loopholes and make no changes that would affect current retirees. In exchange, workers are willing to pay more retirement contributions.
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Cinda Klickna, president of the Illinois Education Association, says as an example, an additional 1 percent of payroll from members in the Teachers’ Retirement System, the State Universities Retirement System and the State Employees’Retirement System would put another $168 million into the retirement systems per year. A final pension contribution increase would have to be negotiated between lawmakers and union members, Klickna says.
Members of the coalition include Illinois AFL-CIO, AFSCME Council 31, Fraternal Order of Police, Illinois Education Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Police Benevolent & Protective Association and SEIU Local 73.
The governor is calling lawmakers to Springfield on Friday to take up public pension reform.