HEADLINES : Illinois
Unions gear up to oppose state pension changes
After weeks of relative quiet, public employee unions are airing television ads statewide to highlight what they say is the unfairness of Gov. Pat Quinn's pension ideas.
Union officials say they have grown weary of Quinn's efforts to rally business leaders behind his ideas and his use of agency directors and state government resources to argue that basic state government functions will suffer unless something is done about pensions.
The ad is an effort to counterpunch and remind lawmakers of the tens of thousands of public employees who are their constituents.
Quinn has proposed increasing employee contributions by 3 percentage points, reducing pensioners' annual cost-of-living increases from 3 percent compounded to the lesser of 3 percent or half the rate of inflation, and increasing the retirement age to 67. He has estimated his proposal would save at least $65 billion.