Chicago labor groups, IL Republicans on same side over pension issue

Apr 2, 2014

Some labor unions are finding themselves on the same side as Illinois Republicans in fighting changes to Chicago employees’ retirement benefits.  

Things moved quickly in Springfield shortly after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a pension plan for some city workers. Emanuel’s plan needs Springfield’s approval - since the state created those pension funds years ago.

To partially fund the pensions, the mayor is calling for an increase in property taxes for Chicago residents which had Republican lawmakers in Springfield accusing the mayor of playing politics, allowing him to say Springfield is forcing the city to raise taxes - even though it’s his own plan.

Take State Senator Matt Murphy of Palatine.

MURPHY: "This has the feel of a state bailout of Chicago to those of us who don’t live in the city."

Meantime, some unions are also fighting the bill, but for different reasons. They say it’s unconstitutional because it cuts employees’ benefits.

But a lawyer for the city says the bill ensures the city can afford to keep making pension payments - therefore it protects their retirements.

The bill was passed by a House committee, but still needs the support of the full House.