January 28, 2014

Unions file suit to overturn new law that cuts pension benefits

Seeking to overturn pension-slashing Senate Bill 1, AFSCME Council 31 and our partners in the We Are One Illinois union coalition filed suit today—Tuesday, Jan. 28—in Sangamon County Circuit Court in Springfield.

“The ‘pension theft’ law violates the Illinois Constitution, which unequivocally states that a public employee’s pension is a contract the state cannot diminish or impair,” AFSCME Council 31 executive director Henry Bayer said. “Together with the We Are One Illinois coalition, our union is seeking justice from the courts to throw out this unfair and unconstitutional law.”

In addition to We Are One Illinois, the lawsuits names as plaintiffs 25 individual active and retired public workers from every part of Illinois. They include AFSCME members Gary Ciaccio (a mental health technician), information systems analyst Gary Kroeschel, university library specialist Ellen Larrimore, child protection investigator Stephen Mittons, correctional sergeant Jose Prado and university maintenance worker Jim Sheridan, as well as AFSCME retirees Ed Corrigan (a former correctional officer) and Caryl Wadley-Foy (a former secretary at a state developmental center), along with teachers, police officers, nurses, firefighters and others.

Defendants in the lawsuit are the state’s constitutional officers, as well as the state retirement systems and their boards.

You can read the full complaint here [PDF].

The We Are One Illinois coalition strongly believes SB1 should not be implemented before a court makes its decision on its constitutionality. Consequently, the coalition has sought for the past several weeks to reach agreement with the state Attorney General and the named defendants on a joint request to the court to enjoin the law’s implementation. Regrettably, the Attorney General refused. In our filing, our coalition reserves the right to seek an injunction.

Related News