A class action lawsuit backed by a coalition of powerful unions seeks to overturn an Illinois law that calls for retired state workers to pay more for their health insurance. As part of union agreements, members with long careers in government had previous been assured nearly free health care upon their retirement. The new law will make them pay a premium. The lawsuit argues that violates the state constitution because it goes against the union contracts. Michael Powell is President of the Fraternal Order of Police lodge representing state troopers. He says for retired state police, it's a dramatic reduction in benefits that troopers count on:
"People retire under certain conditions. It'd be no different than retiring knowing that your social security kicked in tomorrow, and then the social security agency calling you and saying 'we're going to ... significantly reduce your social security benefits.' People wouldn't stand for it."
Powell adds that most state troopers ... like many other state employees ... are not eligible for social security. There are two other lawsuits challenging the same law. One from a handful of retired state workers, another from a retired judge. But legal action from the unions may give it more weight. The Illinois Federation of Teachers, Illinois Nurses Association, and AFSCME the union representing most state workers are also part of the suit.
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