Illinois Public Unions Target….Democrats?
Scott Walker got all the ink because of his fight against the unions, but unions are starting to feel the pinch all over the country. That’s true even in Barack Obama’s home state of Illinois and they’re not very happy about it.
The latest battle between organized labor and states trying to fix huge budget problems by cutting pension costs has surfaced in Illinois, where public union leaders are waging an all-out effort to stop the Democrat-led campaign.
Details of a plan reached last week appear to show state legislative leaders are attempting to solve Illinois’ $100 billion pension crisis in part by changing workers’ retirement age, reducing automatic pension increases and limiting their collective-bargaining privileges.
Union leaders argue the plan to help the under-funded pension plan, which appears to have bipartisan support, seems no different than the one the General Assembly rejected earlier this year.
“It’s an unfair, unconstitutional scheme that undermines retirement security,” the We Are One Illinois labor coalition said last week as details of the plan emerged. “It’s no compromise at all with those who earned and paid for their retirement benefits. In fact, reports suggest the leaders have repackaged Senate Bill 1 and barely bothered to disguise it.”
Rank-and-file state lawmakers were briefed on the plan Friday, and a vote could come as early as this week.
Leaders of the unions, a usually reliable Democratic vote, are specifically targeting Democratic state senators from moderate, swing districts where election opponents can hammer them for inaction or being too tough on state workers and say eight to 10 of them are considered “persuadable.”
Will the unions win this battle in Illinois? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, they’re doomed to lose the war in Illinois and across the country for the simplest of reasons; They take such a huge slice of the pie that there isn’t enough money for many states to pay them and remain solvent. If states like Illinois are going to avoid default, they’re eventually going to have to screw over the unions. Since unions are foes of everything conservatives hold dear, seeing them get screwed suits me just fine.