As Chair of the Labor Subcommittee for the Cook County Board of Commissioners and a lifetime union labor supporter, I know how important it is to have a long-term, stable retirement plan for all employees. Currently, our pension system is made up of 15,000 retirees and 23,000 employees of which roughly 18,000 are union workers.
Without action the pension fund will be insolvent by 2038. This one fact highlights just how important it is to not only protect the quickly approaching retirement of 30% of our employees who are now or soon will be eligible for retirement, but also to ensure future retirement benefits for the men and women just starting their careers, many of whom are the sons and daughters of our most dedicated union members.
As a member of the Pension Subcommittee, I support an open, honest pension reform conversation with all stakeholders. Furthermore, I support the mission of the Pension Subcommittee to protect our retirees, our Cook County taxpayers and to preserve and maintain the promise that has been made to Cook County employees regarding their retirement benefits.
There is simply no financially responsible way to avoid the coming increases in pension costs. However, I believe open and transparent discussions with each of the unions involved, your personal input via this website with questions, suggestions and ideas will allow us to present to Springfield a pension plan that will reflect our combined efforts.
I will continue to work with the pension committee and all of my colleagues on the board along with Cook County’s employees, retirees, taxpayers and legislators in a local collaborative effort to promote fair and sustainable pension reform for Cook County.
Joan Patricia Murphy
Cook County Commissioner – 6th District
Chair, Labor Subcommittee