CHICAGO (AP) – Organized labor has taken one hit after another in places that were once union strongholds: Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana.
The notable exception is Illinois, where public employees still have their defined-benefit pensions. Unions still negotiate and collect dues. And little public blame has been heaped on labor for the state’s financial problems.
But the ability of Illinois unions to withstand the pressures that broke down their colleagues elsewhere is back on display this week as lawmakers try for the umpteenth time to confront the nearly $100 billion shortfall in the public-employee pension system, the largest in the nation.
The Legislature is under pressure to consider slashing pension benefits or requiring employees to contribute more to their own retirement funds or to retire at a later age.
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