Dear Senator Frerichs,
I am appalled that the state legislators think it is permissible to remove the state contribution to employee healthcare. For many of us, it is too late to save up more money so that we can pay what will be much higher premiums after retirement.
You write that “How much retirees would be required to contribute will be determined by the Director of Central Management Services (CMS).” But please remember that in fact the amount was negotiated when we signed our employment contracts and we have made our pension contributions based on that calculus. We trusted–unwisely it now appears–that the state would honor those contracts.
The employees of the state of Illinois will not quietly accept the state’s decision to stop paying its portion of its employees’ healthcare premiums. Lawsuits will surely ensue. Will that save the state a lot of money?
You wrote “Premium rates would not be solely decided by the state, as unions would have the opportunity to negotiate premium rates with CMS.” Please be aware that the instructor employees at UIUC have no union and that the university is spending vast sums on legal teams to prevent the formation of such a union.
Finally, when considering the health and security of employees after retirement, please remember that at UIUC we receive no social security. This means that with salary and retirement earnings, we earn considerably less than our peers at private institutions. We saw that Wisconsin was a bad state for public workers. We are learning that Illinois is little better. Shame on the democratic representatives for not working harder to protect us.
D. Fairchild Ruggles
Professor, Landscape Architecture
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign