Another Chicago Pension Law Goes to Court


An Illinois union and several workers last week filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of a 2014 pension law that altered benefits for Chicago Park District employees.

The 2014 law increased contributions required from workers and the state, lowered cost-of-living adjustments and raised retirement ages.

All of those elements, the lawsuit contends, represent a violation of the Illinois constitution.

More from the Chicago Tribune:

Former and current Chicago Park District supervisors and the union representing many of the district’s workers filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court on Thursday. They’re asking a judge to reverse changes made to their pension system nearly two years ago.

Later retirement ages, reduced annual cost-of-living increases and lower disability benefits all violate the state constitutional clause that public pension benefits “shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired,” the suit contends.

Emanuel frequently has cited the January 2014 Park District pension law as an example of the city and unions agreeing on a way to restore financial health to an underfunded pension systems. The law indeed did go unchallenged until now, but retired workers and union officials began to rattle their legal sabers after the recent legal rulings.


The Park District pension law also requires both employees and the Park District to increase payments into the retirement system. At the end of last year, the fund had about 44 percent of the money it needs to make future payments, according to financial statements. It was about $507 million short.

The union that filed the suit is Service Employees International Union Local 73.


Photo by bitsorf via Flickr CC License

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