By: Chuck Fieldman
Source: Sun Times
Representatives of a local teachers’ union are speaking out against the pension reform bill passed Dec. 3 by Illinois legislators and awaiting the signature of Gov. Pat Quinn.
Heather Scott and Sarah Hoffman, co-presidents of the Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Teachers’ Association, which represents teachers in Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181, said teachers strongly oppose the bill.
Scott said along with the Illinois Education Association and the We are one Illinois labor coalition are urging members to contact legislators.
“Teachers have worked extremely hard to earn their pensions, and as public employees, we do not have the opportunity to participate in Social Security,” he said. “This bill increases the retirement age as well as employee contributions to the pension system.”
The legislation also cuts and delays cost of living adjustments, and Scott said he believes it is unconstitutional.
The new legislation would curtail annual, compounding 3 percent cost-of-living increases received by retired state workers, downstate and suburban teachers and university employees, slowing the growth of their future annuities.
The deal — expected to save $160 billion over 30 years and reduce annual pension payments by as much as $1.5 billion — also would hike retirement ages for younger workers and force some of them to go as many as five years without a post-retirement increase in their pensions.
In return, existing government employees would have less withdrawn from their paychecks to cover pension premiums, and four of the five state retirement systems covered under the 327-page bill would get new powers to sue the state if it ever skipped or shorted making annual pension payments.
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