Ted Dabrowski, John Klingner

AFSCME’s demands ignore four significant facts about Illinois state-worker compensation:

• Illinois state workers are the highest-paid state workers in the country

• AFSCME workers receive Cadillac health care benefits

• Most state workers receive free retiree health insurance

• Career state retirees on average receive $1.6 million in pension benefits

It’s not fair that Illinois residents, struggling with stagnant incomes in one of the nation’s weakest economies, continue to subsidize AFSCME benefits to such an extent.

Many other unions that contract with the state have recognized that taxpayers can’t withstand higher taxes to fund workers’ pay and benefits. Officials from more than 17 unions, including the Teamsters, understand the depth of Illinois’ fiscal crisis and have been willing to compromise and come to affordable contract agreements with the state.

AFSCME, which represents a mere 0.5 percent of Illinois’ total labor force (35,000 state workers out of a total 6.5 million workers), is putting undue pressure on the state and its finances.