Unions Leak Pension Info

This was sent to us from an un-Named source out of Capital Fax:

UNIONS LEAK PENSION INFO Two public employee unions have warned their members about a couple of provisions of the upcoming pension reform bill. And House Speaker Michael Madigan confirmed yesterday that the retirement age will not be raised to 67.

The Illinois Education Association’s website warns its members that a likely reform will be a change in state law to bar school districts from “paying any portion of the members’ contribution to their pension system.” Somewhere around half of school districts have negotiated this benefit with their teachers’ unions, usually in exchange for giving up salary increases. This is apparently the first step toward shifting school employer pension costs away from the state and onto school districts. The IEA is also claiming that a plan to shift those employer pension costs to suburban and Downstate school districts might possibly be phased in over several years, at one percent a year beginning in 2013.

AFSCME Council 31 has a notice on its website claiming that the pension reform bill “will cut the COLA of both current employees and current retirees, and it will reportedly not include any guarantee against continued shorting of the pension funds in the future.” The IEA’s site claims that there could be a guarantee against shorting the pension funds, however.

The IEA also confirmed a Capitol Fax report that active employees who choose to remain in the current pension system will lose their access to government-subsidized health insurance upon retirement and would not see any of their future pay raises counted toward retirement income. Those who move into the new system would see their annual cost of living allowances capped at three percent or one-half of the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Michael Madigan confirmed a report here that the governor’s proposal to raise the retirement age to 67 has been abandoned. Madigan told the Associated Press that he is concerned about constitutional problems with the idea.

Yesterday’s huge, bipartisan majorities for Medicaid cuts in both chambers have got to send a chill down union leaders’ spines. The Medicaid votes demonstrated that large numbers of Democratic legislators seem primed to take some very unpopular actions against their political friends and that Republicans are also showing some real spine.