Illinois AFL-CIO president Michael T. Carrigan issued the following statement on behalf of the We Are One Illinois coalition of unions that represent public employees and retirees:

“We are thankful that the Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the will of the people, overturned this unfair and unconstitutional law, and protected the hard-earned life savings of teachers, police, fire fighters, nurses, caregivers and other public service workers and retirees.

Read the court’s decision

“The Court’s ruling confirms that the Illinois Constitution ensures against the government’s unilateral diminishment or impairment of public pensions.

“Because most public employees aren’t eligible for Social Security, their modest pension—just $32,000 a year on average—is the primary source of retirement income for hundreds of thousands of Illinois families. While workers always paid their share, politicians caused the debt by failing to make adequate contributions to the pension funds.

“Public service workers are helpers and problem solvers by trade. With the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling, we urge lawmakers to join us in developing a fair and constitutional solution to pension funding, and we remain ready to work with anyone of good faith to do so.”



  1. Give back nothing! Many of the legislators who voted to skip pension payments are still in office. They created the the underfunding so they should find a solution that doesn't require us giving back benefits.

  2. PLEASE do not make concessions in "negotiating" with the Legislature and start trading away our current benefits. We didn't create the problem, and we shouldn't have to give up earned benefits to solve it. One of the suggestions in negotiations in the past was that COLA benefits be reduced. We paid for those. If we give anything up now, it will just be the start of erosion of benefits. The Supreme Court was clear….we get to keep our earned benefits. Do not give them away to "help" the State of Illinois.

  3. now if only we can stop them from dumping on our insurance by refusing to fund it.

  4. There should be no conciliation on our pensions. The focus should be to address the underfunding of government services because of revenue shortfalls that cannot meet service said. The wealthy must finally pay their fair share. They reap huge benefits from government and want the taxpayer to pay the costs. Corporate elite and government used pensions as a credit card and now they want us to take responsibility for their gelegiance and greed.

  5. Just think how far ahead we'd be if the original pension agreement, with John Cullerton had been enacted instead of eviscerated.

    • John, I hope you aren't serious. Sen. Cullerton is already blowing the dust off of that piece of extortion because we gave in to fear and a propaganda campaign against state workers to bargain away our Constitutionally protected rights. I hope our IEA leaders read the Supreme Court's decision in its entirety. Thank you for representing us in this victory for the rule of law. Please do not bargain away the Constitutionally protected rights that 7 Supreme Court Justices upheld. As Justice Karmeier said, crisis is not an excuse to abandon the law, "it is a summons to defend it."

  6. Thank you for your diligence and expert representation of those of us who depend on our pension. I am thankful and proud to be a retired member of IEA. This is truly great news! I know we have battles ahead but I also know that I am represented by the BEST team!! Thanks so much!

  7. The wording of the decision reaffirms the respect for law and the will of the people. It is truly a proud American moment.

  8. Great news!!! THANK YOU to all who have helped protect our hard-earned pensions! The job isn't finished, yet, by far. Gov Rauner is on a mission…. we have to remain vocal and vigilant.

  9. Thanks to our leaders, legal team and We Are One partners for their efforts in this fight! But now the Governor and Legislature must still find a Fair and Constitutional solution to the problem they created.
    And with this Governor, we can't let our guard down!

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