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House speaker rebuffs union call for talks

Thu, 31 Jan 2013 05:55:09 CST
By: AP

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan says public employee unions have offered "no cooperation" on fixing the pension crisis. The Chicago Democrat released a sharp response yesterday to a group of labor unions that want a February 11 summit on solutions to the $96 billion pension problem. Madigan declined the invitation from the "We are One Illinois" coalition.   Years of underfunding have created a shortfall in retirement programs. Legislative plans have proposed higher employee contributions and lower benefits.   Madigan dismissed labor leader Michael Carrigan's claim last week that legislative solutions have failed because union concerns haven't been considered. Madigan's letter pointed to at least "eight high-level meetings" with union representatives a year. The coalition says its proposal provides enough money and is fair.

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