Unions Hoping Arizona Pension Decision Will Be Same In Illinois


Springfield - Pension reform: two words, and a political philosophy that lawmakers debated for years.

"We all knew that repairing the damage that had been done over decades would not happen over night," said Governor Pat Quinn during his State of the State address.

In his address, Governor Quinn excluded nobody from blame.

"Previous legislators and governors, from both parties, created the pension crisis," he said.

A crisis he said ended when lawmakers passed legislation in December.

"Resolving Illinois' pension crisis was the tallest task of all."

However, the legislation lawmakers passed, which becomes law June 1st, is currently being challenged by several unions.  

They claimed it is a diminishment of benefits and violates worker's constitutional rights.  
A recent decision in the Arizona State Supreme Court may prove them right.

"They're undercutting the pensions of these people.  Undercutting their own communities by doing this.  It's clear in the language of the Arizona constitution that was passed in 1998 is identical to the Illinois constitution so far as it says pensions will not be diminished or impaired," AFSCME 31 regional director Jeff Bigelow told WAND News.

Illinois Education Association president Cinda Klickna added,"the Arizona decision could have an affect on the one here.  Obviously it's up to the courts, but a lot of people felt that was a good signal."

If overturned, the state and its unions, will have to go back to the drawing board.


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