CHICAGO - WeareOneIllinois.org is home to an array of unions representing state and school employees, from SEIU to AFSCME to the IEA, IFT and others. They are calling for the legislature to halt Quinn's budget cuts, Madigan's pension dumps and retiree health care premium hikes. Instead, they say, adopt a "fair" - read "progressive" - system of raising needed revenue. From the website:
Corporate CEOs and lobbyists pushing unfair, unconstitutional cuts are drowning out the voices of middle class public employees who earn modest pensions—just $32,000 a year on average—typically contribute 8 to 10 percent of every paycheck toward their pension, and rely on the pension they earn since nearly 80% aren’t eligible for Social Security.
We Are One Illinois unions have met repeatedly with legislative leaders and the governor, offering to help save the state billions of dollars in pension costs. But rumors persist that legislation may sabotage the prospect of a collaborative, fair solution.
Such legislation may be modeled on Governor Quinn’s proposal to saddle teachers, caregivers and other public employees with the entire burden of solving the pension problem alone. Quinn’s plan would unconstitutionally cut COLA protections that ensure pensions keep pace with inflation,1 force employees to work longer and make them pay an additional 3 percentage points from every check (an increase of 28% to 75%).
The coalition is urging legislators to hear the voices of public servants who earn, pay for and depend on their modest pensions, and to work together with their unions to develop a fair solution to fund pensions going forward.
A new ad promoting a "fair solution" is circulating: