Lawmakers not looking for union input

Published 01/31 2013 05:37PM

Updated 01/31 2013 05:40PM

SPRINGFIELD -- The state's labor unions are trying to set up a meeting with state leaders to fix pensions, but one of our top lawmakers says he's not going. Both groups have been battling back-and-forth for awhile. But, Speaker Mike Madigan says it's too little, too late.

He says we do need pension reform right away, but he wants to leave it up to lawmakers. The state needs to make big changes to public pensions in order to get our budget back on track.

In a letter Wednesday, he told union leaders, if they wanted a say, they should have been more willing to negotiate a long time ago. Madigan adds, it's good they're trying to help, but criticizes them for not offering up realistic ideas, saying:
    to date, we have received no cooperation from the labor
    unions representing state employees on addressing their
    challenges. In fact, these unions have often been strongly
    opposed to any attempt to solve the problem.

AFL-CIO Director Michael Carrigan fought back saying:

    We believe pension legislation supported by all parties
    is the only way to meet constitutional muster and avert    
    costly and time-consuming court battles.

The meeting is supposed to happen in about 1-1/2 weeks. No word from the governor or other leaders whether they plan on attending or not.

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