#PensionTheft: Public Workers Under Attack in Illinois


A critical vote for past, current, and future public workers is set to take place in the Illinois General Assembly today and if Governor Pat Quinn gets his way and deep cuts are made to the pension and retirement rules, critics worry that similar efforts to strip workers of their earned retirement benefits will be replicated nationwide. As in other states, Illinois pension shortfall comes not from over-compensating public employees but because the state perennially refused to contribute its share of revenue to the fund decade after decade. Now, according to Quinn and his supporters, the workers must be forced to endure cuts to their cost-of-living increases and other so-called "fixes" in the name of the "common good." Quinn, a Democrat, is poised to anger his labor base in the name of compromising on the pension deal—which they call "pension theft"—and it is Republicans in the state who might ditch the deal, but only because they say the cuts to workers don’t go far enough. Not all Democrats, however, see the deal as a responsible fix with U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowksy calling on her state-level colleagues to reject the proposal.

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