Coalition Urges Governor to Veto Chicago Park District Bill (SB 1523)

The Illinois legislature did not vote on legislation affecting state retirement systems during its fall veto session. However, legislators may return in early December to vote on an unfair, unconstitutional plan affecting state retirement systems that would make deep cuts to pensions. Read more here for the latest on this plan, affecting employees and retirees of TRS, SERS, and SURS.

Although the legisature did not act on state retirement systems, it did approve deep pension cuts affecting employees and retirees of the Chicago Park District. Click here for a summary of the bill. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has indicated that the plan could be expanded to other Chicago retirement systems.

The We Are One Illinois union coalition released a statement in response, calling on Governor Pat Quinn to veto the bill. You can view the House roll call here and the Senate roll call here to see how your legislator voted.

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The following statement is attributable to the We Are One Illinois coalition of unions regarding the passage of Senate Bill 1523, intended to affect the Park Employees' Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago:

"Characterizations that affected unions negotiated and agreed to Senate Bill 1523 are inaccurate. The bill was not the final product of any negotiations. Furthermore, SEIU Local 73, a coalition member which represents 80% of the affected employees and retirees, opposes the bill, as does our coalition.

"SB 1523 unfairly slashes constitutionally-protected pension benefits and harms the retirement security of thousands of individuals and their families. Like most Illinois public servants, Chicago Park District employees and retirees are not eligible for Social Security.

“Yet the bill drastically hikes retirement ages by eight years, reduces payments to those disabled by an injury on the job, and greatly increases employee contributions. Current retirees will particularly be burdened by deep cuts to the cost-of-living adjustment. This is not a negotiated compromise, but merely an effort to illegally take modest, hard-earned pensions from senior citizens, the disabled, and the current workforce.

"Contrary to assertions by House Speaker Michael Madigan, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made clear his desire to expand this plan beyond the Chicago Park District. This bill should be stopped in its tracks. We urge Governor Pat Quinn to protect the constitutional rights and life savings of working families and retirees and veto SB 1523."