Unions Ask Lawmakers to Back Senate Pension Plan

By: The AP
By: The AP

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Senate Democrats are supporting a new union-backed pension reform proposal they say is less risky than one approved in the House last week.

   Senate President John Cullerton says lawmakers believe the House bill sponsored by Speaker Michael Madigan would be found unconstitutional because it unilaterally cuts benefits.

   The union-backed measure gives workers and retirees a choice of benefit packages. For example, if workers choose to receive health insurance in retirement they would receive smaller cost-of-living increases. Those who choose to keep 3 percent cost-of-living increases compounded annually wouldn't get health insurance.

   Cullerton says the plan could save around $46 billion and would survive a court challenge.

   He says Madigan supported a similar measure last year, and he expects bipartisan support for it.

   A Senate committee could hear the bill Wednesday

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Illinois union leaders are encouraging lawmakers to support a pension reform proposal that they recently agreed on with the state's Senate president.

A coalition of unions announced Monday that it reached an agreement with Senate President John Cullerton on a possible solution to the state's $97 billion pension crisis.

Michael Carrigan is the president of the Illinois AFL-CIO. He says the group is trying to ensure fairness for public employees and retirees. The union-backed measure gives workers and retirees a choice of benefit packages.

Carrigan says the group is asking legislators to oppose a solution that House Speaker Michael Madigan backs. Madigan's plan calls for higher pension contributions from employees and limits on how much in pension benefits retirees may collect.


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