Workers affected by public pension reform are being urged to call lawmakers after Thanksgiving and ask them to vote against the measures that are under consideration in Springfield. The We Are One coalition of unions representing state workers and teachers is asking members to participate in “emergency call-in days” Dec. 2 and 3, when the General Assembly might meet. Dan Montgomery, head of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, says what’s on the table is a big reduction in benefits.
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“If you look at some of these ideas, referring to the cutting of COLA, the capping of pensionable salary earnings, the changes in how you calculate a pension, altogether, that can reduce the value of someone’s pension over the, say, 20 to 25 years by up to 30 percent,” he said. The We Are One coalition did agree to a restructuring plan which passed the Senate but has not been called for a vote in the House. Legislative leaders had a conference call on the subject on Thursday and reported “progress” on plans to save $150 billion over 30 years. A Dec. 3 date has been floated for lawmakers to vote on a proposal, but that’s not yet a sure thing.