Is Speaker Madigan turning on Illinois public employee unions

A Wall Street Journal story sees a crack in the old and solid alliance between House Speaker Michael Madigan and organized state workers. Said the story:

madigan m.jpg

Last week, Mr. Madigan floated, for the first time, the idea of cutting pension benefits for current state workers. The speaker said lawmakers were working on bills to reduce the pensions, but he declined to give details.

The story suggests that Madigan finally might be catching on to what is going on in the country:

Since 1970, the Illinois constitution has barred reductions in public-employee pensions, and states have had little success in court when they attempt to lower benefits for current workers. But Mr. Madigan's latest comments are part of a national trend of state and city Democratic politicians recalibrating their relationships with unions as voters grow weary of service cuts and tax and fee increases to balance state budgets.

Note is taken that the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, which represents state workers, did not endorse Madigan in his re-election bid. 

As if it mattered. 


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  • It probably isn't relevant that an ancient monarch has a rift with his serfs.

    However, I noted the tirade from the AFSCME President about this talk (apparently the link was on the Sun-Times homepage, but the story in the Southtown Star), but while preexisting rights are contractual, if the Illinois Constitution means what he says about future rights, it can be amended. If Madigan is really proposing such a law, that's at least worth a court test.

    I think that Mark Brown has a thorough analysis of the problem.

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    Chicago Tribune contributing op-ed columnist and author of forthcoming historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812." Reporter, editor and columnist for Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News. Freelance writer and editor.

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