News Local/State

Retirees’ Group: U Of I Employees’ Suit Protects SURS Benefits


The latest lawsuit to block Illinois’ new pension law seeks to preserve benefits of the State Universities Retirement System.

University of Illinois and Parkland College employees filed the complaint Thursday in Champaign County Circuit Court – the fifth lawsuit challenging the pension plan.

It also involves the State Universities Annuitants Association.    Executive Director Linda Brookhart said there are differences in SURS when compared to the lawsuits filed by retired teachers and government workers.

While the intent is the same, she said this one means to protect the three types of pension plans for current and retired U of I workers.

"They’re supposed to sign what they call a contract, which is irrevocable, so they can’t ever change their mind if they decide down the road if they want to change that pension that they’re in," she said.  "And then they have the money purchase formula, which none of the other systems have either.”

Brookhart said it was important to file in Champaign County since the U of I, Parkland College, and SURS are all locally based.

Lawyers for other retiree groups want to consolidate the other four lawsuits, and bring their cases as one. 

Brookhart says it’s ‘fine’ if her group’s lawsuit is moved to Sangamon County, says they’ll work with everyone.  Two lawsuits were filed there, with another filed in Cook County.