Several Key Leaders Skip Unions’ Pension Summit

Sen. John Cullerton (D-Chicago)

Sen. John Cullerton (D-Chicago)

A coalition of government-employee unions convened a summit today on Illinois pensions.  But it’s unlikely to change opinions on what’s arguably the biggest issue in state government.

Illinois unions complain they’ve been left out of the loop as lawmakers debate overhauling state employees’ pensions. This summit is their way to bring together the key players. But it’s not clear this qualifies. Many of Illinois’ top officials sat it out, including Democratic Senate President John Cullerton.

CULLERTON “I’m glad they’re having a meeting, we certainly should let people know we’ve been meeting with them many, many times.  But there hasn’t been any significant … offers of anything that’s really going to save us much money.”

Unions have offered to increase what employees pay toward their retirement, but they’ve fought cuts to benefits. Cullerton, Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, and House Speaker Michael Madigan, sent envoys to the summit instead of going in person.

In a letter, Madigan wrote that a summit’s several years too late.   House Republican Leader Tom Cross attended the summit, as did Governor Pat Quinn. (Amanda Vinicky)

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