An Illinois labor leader is not happy with the conference committee set up to hammer out a compromise on public pensions.Henry Bayer, the head of AFSCME Council 31, says the idea of a conference committee isn’t a bad one in and of itself, but when you look at the lawmakers who were selected to sit on it, you can see where this is going.

  • Among House Democrats, all three appointees voted for S.B. 1, the more aggressive “House plan” that the unions oppose.
  • Most House Republicans voted against S.B. 1, yet both appointees to the conference committee voted in favor.
  • Almost all Senate Democrats voted for the union-backed S.B. 2404, yet one of the three appointees to the conference committee is Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), one of only two Senate Democrats to vote against S.B. 2404
  • One-third of Senate Republicans voted for S.B. 2404, yet neither appointee to the conference committee voted for it.

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“So I don’t know how anybody could look at the composition of the committee, and look at how people voted and not come to any conclusion other than this group is not representative of the Senate and House votes on this issue,” Bayer said.

Bayer says “the deck is stacked” in favor of S.B. 1, or something like it, which he says slashes retirement benefits for AFSCME members as well as other workers enrolled in state retirement systems.

The conference committee was the governor’s idea. Nobody is promising that it’s going to work.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio /