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Illinois unions pledge to work for ‘fair’ pension overhaul

SPRINGFIELD — A coalition of public employee unions says it’s ready to work with lawmakers to develop a “fair and constitutional solution” to overhaul the state’s public pension systems.

Illinois AFL-CIO president Michael Carrigan issued a statement on behalf of a coalition of unions after the state Supreme Court on Friday overturned a 2013 pension overhaul law adopted in response to a $111 billion shortfall. Illinois has the nation’s worst-funded pension.

The unions were among those who challenged the legislation in court. They argued the law violates a provision of the Illinois Constitution prohibiting pension benefits from being “diminished or impaired.”

Government lawyers argued the state could exercise “police powers” in emergency cases.

Carrigan says the group is thankful for the court’s decision to protect the “hard-earned life savings” of retirees.