We Are One Illinois repeats call for fair solution on pension funding

At the conclusion of the spring legislative session, Illinois AFL-CIO president Michael T. Carrigan issued the following statement on behalf of We Are One Illinois:

"We are disappointed that the Illinois Senate voted in favor of legislation that attempts to shift the lion’s share of the burden for Illinois pension debt onto employees and retirees, who have faithfully contributed their share over their working lives. We do not believe that HB 1447 represents a constitutional or fair solution to the problem of pension underfunding.

"For months our coalition of unions representing active and retired public employees has made every effort to work with lawmakers to reach a fair solution to the pension funding problem. While we opposed bills that violated the state constitution and placed an unfair burden on working and retired public employees, we remain committed to doing our part to restore solvency to the pension funds on which so many employees depend for their retirement security.

"Public employees are helpers, problem solvers, the people we trust and turn to in times of need. They want to be part of the solution to the Illinois pension problem just as they solve problems in their communities every day.

"Since the House did not take up HB 1447, we have the opportunity to renew our efforts. The union coalition stands ready to engage in further discussions aimed at developing legislation we can all support—one that is constitutional, fair to workers and retirees, and secures the financial health of the pension systems on which they depend.

"Our coalition is committed to reaching a real solution that can become law. With the best interests of public employees, retirees and all taxpayers in mind, it is our hope that the state’s political leaders will recognize the importance of including employees’ voices and concerns in developing that solution. We stand ready to get back to work immediately to protect the modest pensions public employees rely on and ensure guaranteed adequate funding for the retirement systems going forward."