Rauner Supports Democrat’s Pension Plan With Union Measure

January 21, 2016
 
Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, speaks to reporters while on the Senate floor during session at the Illinois State Capitol Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Springfield

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, speaks to reporters while on the Senate floor during session at the Illinois State Capitol Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Springfield.

(Seth Perlman/Associated Press)

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner says he backs a top Democrat's proposed pension overhaul as long as it includes a union-weakening provision on collective bargaining.  Rauner told reporters Thursday that he spoke to Senate President John Cullerton and they agreed to move forward. But Cullerton says Rauner misrepresented their conversations.

Cullerton says he won't support Rauner's proposal to add the union clause because of a "fundamental disagreement'' on the role of collective bargaining. 

Rauner wants to remove wage increases from the bargaining process.  His office later said Rauner was referring to the part of a salary used to calculate pension benefits, not annual wages.

"In the spirit of compromise and as a step in the right direction, I’m willing to support and right now I endorse your pension reform bill," Rauner said.
 
Cullerton's plan lets workers choose between keeping cost-of-living increases in retirement and counting future raises when figuring retirement benefits.  Cullerton does not support Rauner’s proposal, but says he appreciates Rauner’s willing to consider other ideas.

Last year, the Illinois Supreme Court rejected another overhaul, saying it violated a constitutional clause that said benefits can't be reduced. 

There's been little progress since because of budget gridlock.

Story source: AP