Unions suing to overturn state pension overhaul

Jan 29, 2014

A group of Illinois’ biggest public worker unions are now suing to overturn the state’s controversial new pension law.  A coalition of labor groups says it stands for more than 620,000 state workers.

 And it’s angry about the new law - which solves the state’s pension crisis largely by cutting annual benefit increases for workers and raising retirement ages.  Henry Bayer heads up the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

 BAYER: All of them would have their pensions diminished unconstitutionally and, I might add, unfairly.

 Unconstitutionally, Bayer says, because of a clause in the Illinois constitution that says pension benefits - quote - “shall not be diminished or impaired.”

 But House Republican Leader Jim Durkin says a court could still uphold the law.

 DURKIN: I’ve been practicing law for a few years. And I do know that there is not one provision in any constitution which is absolute.

 Illinois’ new pension law now faces four legal challenges - and they’re widely expected to end up before the state Supreme Court.