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August 6, 2001

Ryan Signs Legislation to Add Highway Maintenance Workers to the State's Alternative Pension Formula

SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. George H. Ryan today signed House Bill 267, adding highway maintainers to the list of employees who qualify for the state's alternative retirement formula.

"This bill will give some of Illinois' hardest workers the option to retire earlier, and with a larger benefit," Gov. Ryan said. "These men and women work diligently through all kinds of weather, in all seasons. This is the least we can do for them, and for their futures."

Effective immediately, these employees may retire under the alternative formula at age 50 with 25 years of service, or at age 55 with only 20 years of service. As a result of this bill, about 2,500 teamsters statewide will be able to retire 10 to 15 years sooner than under the regular state retirement formula.

To earn credit for the alternative formula, employees must contribute 9.5 percent of their salary to the pension fund. The state currently is paying 5.5 percent of the employee contribution pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement.

"Illinois' highway maintainers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the State," said House Republican Leader Lee A. Daniels. "They deserve to have their families' futures assured, and this bill helps to do just that."

To qualify, employees must hold a full-time position with either the Illinois Department of Transportation or the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. In addition, their primary responsibility must be to perform the actual maintenance necessary to keep the state's highways or tollways in serviceable condition.

Positions that would be covered under this legislation include highway maintenance lead workers, heavy construction equipment operators, power shovel operators, bridge mechanics, highway maintainers, equipment operators and laborers, and painters.

"The hardworking men and women of the Illinois Teamsters want to express their gratitude for the leadership of Governor Ryan and Minority Leader Daniels," said Keith Gleason, President of the Illinois Conference of Teamsters. "We've been fighting for this bill for at least 2 years now, and thanks to the support of these two men, many Teamsters will now have a more secure future."

House Bill 267 was sponsored by Representatives Raymond Poe, R-Springfield; Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth; Julie Curry, D-Mt. Zion; Gwenn Klingler, R-Springfield; William O'Connor, R-Riverside; and former Senator Robert Madigan, R-Lincoln; Duane Noland, R-Blue Mound; Dave Sullivan, R-Mt. Prospect; Judith Myers, R-Danville; and Larry Bomke, R-Springfield.


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