A union for Chicago Park District employees, along with one active and one retired worker, filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a 2014 Chicago pension reform law for members of the $424.5 million Chicago Park Employees' Annuity & Benefit Fund.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court.
SB 1523, signed into law by then-Gov. Pat Quinn in January 2014, raised the minimum retirement age, increased both employer and employee contributions and lowered retiree cost-of-living adjustments for members of the park district retirement fund.
“The highest court in the state has unanimously ruled that cuts and diminishments of pension benefits are unconstitutional,” said Christine Boardman, president of plaintiff Service Employees International Union Local 73, in an announcement on its website. “It is now time for Chicago Park District workers to have the same pension fairness state workers and other city of Chicago workers have seen.”
In July, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Rita M. Novak ruled unconstitutional a pension reform law that took effect Jan. 1 for members of Chicago's laborers and municipal pension funds. The city appealed Ms. Novak's decision with oral arguments scheduled before the Illinois Supreme Court in November.
Dean Niedospial, executive director of the Chicago Park Employees' Annuity & Benefit Fund, could not immediately be reached for comment.