AFSCME's Henry Bayer Talks Pensions

Oct 17, 2013

Henry Bayer

Henry Bayer is the Executive Director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31.  The role puts the union leader in the middle of several battles over benefits and working conditions.  That includes the current dispute involving public pensions.

Bayer spoke with WUIS' Sean Crawford about the possibility of a pension deal during the upcoming fall legislative session.  Bayer and the union support a plan that gained enough support to pass the Illinois Senate earlier in the year, but was bottled up in the House. 

Less than a week before legislators return to Springfield, and there's still no telling what, if anything, will happen when it comes to Illinois' underfunded retirement systems.  
A special legislative committee formed in June still hasn't met a consensus.  There's no word of any agreement.

"I do believe that if the conference committee comes out in the shape, in the way that's been described, that it likely would not gain majority support ... at least in the Senate," Bayer said.

He says the House should take up the plan that's already passed the Senate. Bayer says he thinks that package, which gives employees some choices about how they'd reduce their retirement benefits, would pass the House. He blames House Speaker Michael Madigan for refusing to allow a vote.
Madigan's spokesman says there's no plan to do so during the upcoming session. He says if the House is going to vote on a pension plan, it will be one with more substantial savings.