Breaking. Chicago pension lawsuit.

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– This from the Municipal Employees Society of Chicago:

Info on today’s court hearing for an injunction to stop the pension cuts.

This was a hearing for a temporary restraining order to stop the pension reforms from going into effect while the actual trial on the reform continues.

Legal counsel on behalf of city workers did a good job arguing our side. They argued that an injunction was fair to all involved while the court case continued due to irreparable harm being inflicted on retirees in cuts to the cola, as well as an increase in current workers contributions.
They cited the State pension reform case, how an injunction was given, that it was basically identical. It was argued that if an injunction was given and the city ended up prevailing with the pension reforms in court they then could easily institute the cuts.

The cities legal counsel argued that they had police power to institute the cuts while the pension reform case continued. He argued the city case was completely different than state numerous times.
“Retirees were living quite comfortably last month and this month, they are still getting a raise Jan 1st, be it a smaller raise, but a raise none the less and will live even more comfortably.” (Exact words, I’m not kidding)

They argued current workers are getting a 2% raise Jan 1 and with their .05% increase in contributions they are still coming out ahead.

The cities attorney argued that “the city was in worse financial harm than the state and if an injunction was granted the city could never recover.” (Exact words yet again)
He argued that he respectably disagreed with Judge Belz but her decision was flawed and wrong, that’s why Judge Novak should not grant an injunction.

There was some debate on both sides about whether or not police powers could be used as a reason for denying an injunction.

Judge Novak had a few questions about both sides arguments, she mentioned the State case a few times as well.

Ultimately no injunction decision was made today, she set court dates of
Jan 28
Jan 30
Feb 6
Feb 11
So that both sides could provide more information on whether police powers can be used and have more hearings on the info.

As it stands now
Retired
Pensions over $22,000 get a .85% raise
Pensions less than $22,000 get 1%

Active
Members contributions go up .50% to 9.25%

The next court date on the actual pension reform bill is in April.

Jeff Johnson
Municipal Employees Society-President

And from Reuters:

Dec 29 (Reuters) – Litigation seeking to derail changes to Chicago public worker pensions on constitutional grounds ensnared a second city retirement system on Monday.

Attorney Clint Krislov said he filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of members of the city’s pension fund for laborers. That lawsuit followed one filed Dec. 16 by a coalition of labor unions against Chicago’s municipal pension fund.

An Illinois law enacted earlier this year for the two funds requires higher worker contributions and limits cost-of-living increases for retirees. The lawsuits contend the law violates a prohibition in the Illinois Constitution against reducing public worker retirement benefits.

Cook County Associate Judge Rita Novak on Monday set a hearing on the unions’ motion for a temporary restraining order in the municipal fund case for Jan. 28 and 30.

10 thoughts on “Breaking. Chicago pension lawsuit.

  1. The city is so broke. Yeah right. But they have millions lying around for a fancy hotel and basketball arena, a Maggie Daley park, a goofy star wars musuem, etc. But in order to do this lets close schools and reduce pay and obligations to public employees that put out fires, protect the masses, teach our children. Yeah, the city has all kind of money except when it comes time to pay the help.

    1. A 127 million dollar high school for rich donor kids in west loop….an unneeded addition to a Lincoln Park elemetrary school……

  2. What a wonderful slap in the face to the workforce of chicago and its retirees with the choice words from the city lawyers. And yes the very same lawyers that we as taxpayers pay for. Ironic isnt it. To judge that people are comfortable with their lifestyle is a dictation in a way that says what we should be in their eyes. Dont bother to take into consideration our brothers and sisters at,the lower end of pay. They dont exist in their eyes. Neither does each individuals own hardships play a role in their lifestyles. Nor do the survivors who get 50% l was once proud of this city i gave 110% to it for 36 years as many of us have. Now i stand with a bowed head of shame. I place the blame at the top and his flock of sheep. We as one need to exert everything we have to get the word out we need change before the 1% completely destroys the city. The taxpayers need to know they are next.

  3. This is crap. The unions asked for a temporary injunction, which the judge could and should have granted right away, before the cuts take effect Jan. 1, 2015.

  4. I would cite the difficulties many retirees have had getting their premium refunds from the state in the Kanerva /Maag case. There was no injunction here but the state said it would segregate the premium money in the off chance it lost ….Well it lost last summer and I still don’t think that most of the retirees have their money back. There was no injunction because the harm didn’t seem big
    Mice to hear the state isn’t in such bad shape
    A question What was the raise the retires were supposed to get? If it was 3 and you get less than 1 it sure looks like harm

  5. David,

    Looks like by summer we will be refunded our premiums.

    Dec 30, 8:48 AM EST

    Court: June deadline for retiree premium refunds

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A court has approved a schedule for refunds to tens of thousands of Illinois state retirees who’ve been paying a portion of their pensions for health insurance over the last year and a half.

    The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports ( http://bit.ly/14awazw ) that according to the schedule refunds should be paid to retirees by June 15.

    Retirees began paying a percentage of their annuity under a 2012 law. An Illinois Supreme Court ruling this summer found the law unconstitutional. The state decided not to fight the retirees’ motion to return the money.

    The Illinois Department of Central Management Services said Monday that $63 million in premiums was collected from about 90,000 retirees. The amount refunded to retirees will be determined by how much the court awards for attorneys’ fees.

    Information from: The State Journal-Register, http://www.sj-r.com

    1. Great Rick I hope the city workers use this in their case for an injunction. The “harm” issue is the basis for an injunction and its level is really subjective. There is also the likelihood of winning and that was not as clear in Kanerva …until it came in 6-1 …..

      1. For some reason Rahm feels that Chicago is separate state and Illinois state laws and constitution do not apply.

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