Press Release: We are One Illinois Launches Statewide Radio Ad

May 17, 2011

We Are One Illinois Coalition Continues Push to Educate Public and Debunk Pension Myths with New Statewide Radio Ad

Leading into a pivotal week at the state capitol—where legislation cutting the pensions of public employees could be decided—the statewide We Are One Illinois coalition of firefighters, teachers, police, disability caregivers and other public workers today began airing statewide radio advertising to convey the real truth about the impact of pension cuts.

The ad also takes aim at politicians who year after year failed to make required payments to these retirement systems—but now seek to shift responsibility for their own mistakes by breaking promises and cutting the modest pensions of public employees.

The radio ad reinforces the facts about public employees and the pensions they earn, including:

·      Pensions earned by public employees are modest—just $32,000 a year on average.

·      Because 80% of Illinois public employees are NOT eligible for Social Security, they rely solely on that modest pension—in effect, their life savings—when they retire.

·      Illinois public employees pay substantially toward their own pension—most of them 8 to 9% of every paycheck—and have always made these contributions faithfully and in full.

·      The pension debt was caused by politicians who for years—even decades—skipped or shorted the payments required by law.

“Most public employees pay 8 or 9 percent or more from each paycheck toward their pension, and they never missed a payment,” Illinois AFL-CIO president Michael T. Carrigan said. “Yet while they were teaching our children, fighting fires, taking care of the disabled and more, politicians failed to pay their own share. Workers shouldn’t be punished for politicians’ mistakes. That’s wrong.”

Please listen to the radio ad in its entirety here (please note ad is at the top of the page). 

Radio Ad Script

The politicians in Springfield are at it again.

This time they’re playing with the retirement security of our teachers, police, firefighters, caregivers and other public servants who help our community every day.

80% of these public employees don’t get Social Security.   The modest pensions they paid for, and were promised, are their only life savings.

The fact is, most already pay 8% or more from every paycheck to fund their own retirements.   They’ve never missed a payment.

They did their jobs.   But the politicians didn’t do theirs. For years theyfailed to make the required payments.

And now that the bill is due the politicians want to go back on what they promised and force public employees to pay the price.

Tell the Springfield politicians to clean up their own mess.   Don’t cut public employee pensions.

Go to We Are one to help, today.

This message paid for by We Are One Illinois.

The ad joins a pair of television spots also airing statewide.

We Are One Illinois coalition members include the Illinois AFL-CIO, Illinois Education Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois, AFSCME Council 31, Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association, Fraternal Order of Police, Service Employees International Union, Laborers International Union of North America Midwest Region and the Illinois Public Pension Fund Association.

For interview requests please call 312-368-7533 or e-mail More information on the coalition is available at

Paid for by We Are One Illinois