A tentative agreement between Governor Pat Quinn and the state's largest public-employee union, AFSCME, means retired workers finally know how much they should budget for health care. And it means the state will finally get the savings it had already been counting on.
State and university employees who retired after long government careers have not had to pay any health care premiums. A new state law requires them to contribute. But how much they pay was subject to contract negotiations. And AFSCME and the Quinn administration's negotiations dragged on for 15 months. If union members approve the deal, retirees will have to put two percent of their pensions into their health insurance starting this July. They'll have to add another two percent next summer. For older retirees eligible for Medicare, it's half that amount. That's all according to a memo AFSCME confirms was written by its director, Henry Bayer. In the memo, Bayer says the Quinn administration wanted employees to put as much as 20 percent of their pensions toward health insurance. It says the Quinn administration also proposed using a sliding scale, so those with bigger pensions would have to pay more. Although AFSCME negotiated the terms, it applies to ALL retired state and university employees, even those who were never members of the union. The whole deal still has to be ratified by union members