Union Conglomerate Files Pension Lawsuit

Jan 29, 2014

Credit Hannah Meisel/WUIS

  A coalition of labor unions has called Illinois' new pension law "theft." Now they've filed a lawsuit. It comes a day before Governor Pat Quinn is expected to herald the law in his State of the State address.

This is the fourth lawsuit seeking to strike down the pension law, but the first filed by a behemoth group of unions known as "We Are One." It unsuccesfully fought to keep lawmakers from reducing state employees' retirement benefits. The coalition includes the Illinois Education Association. Its vice president, Kathi Griffin, is on leave from her teaching job in Schaumburg.

"The pension is our life savings," she said. "It is the life savings of all our members. And it's all they have. So when you start diminishing those benefits, it's going to impact people right in their pocketbook and impact their way of life. We're now having people retire with the possibility of doing so without the dignity that they deserved after their years of public service."

The suit includes 25 plaintiffs: teachers, a retired prison guard and state trooper, and a nurse.

The governor's office says the lawsuit comes as no surprise, and that Quinn believes the pension changes are constitutional.