Union leaders met with Governor Pat Quinn and members of the legislature on February 11 to talk about the state's underfunded pension system. They billed it as a chance to work together on a divisive issue but the two sides remain far apart.
The unions represent a range of government workers, from prison guards to teachers. After the meeting, they issued a statement saying it shows they can "work together constructively with all parties."
Over the protests of state employee unions, an Illinois House committee gave bipartisan support to a plan intended to repair Illinois' underfunded pensions. But the full House adjourned Monday without taking a vote.
The legislation would leave workers paying more for a smaller retirement benefit. House Republican leader Tom Cross said the change is necessary given the condition of Illinois' pension systems.
Illinois’ pension-reform issue seemed to make some progress this month, but labor and legislators still question the latest, bipartisan proposal addressing the state’s $95 billion pension problem, and as of press time the state’s We Are One coalition still plans a rally at the Illinois Statehouse on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 3-4.
Eighteen lawmakers appeared with HB 6258 Democratic co-sponsors Elaine Nekritz of Des Plaines and Daniel Biss of Skokie at the measure’s introduction Dec. 5.