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May 11, 2001

Governor Ryan Commends Business and Labor Leaders for Coming Together to Discuss the Unemployment Insurance Fund

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan commends business and labor leaders for coming together twice during the last week and discussing their positions on possible reforms to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund financed through state payroll taxes.

"I'd like to thank the representatives of business and labor who agreed to roll up their sleeves and look at the finances of our state Unemployment Insurance Fund," said Governor Ryan. "It is good that we all are working together to make sure that the system works for employers and employees."

The Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund is sound. All parties involved say their priority is to maintain the fund's integrity and strength. Both business and labor leaders agreed that consideration of potential changes be postponed until after Labor Day in order to allow more time to monitor the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, unemployment trends, and the general economic outlook over the summer.

The Governor will reconvene business and labor leaders in September with the goal of continuing discussions on unemployment insurance issues.

"I'd like to thank Governor Ryan for organizing our meetings so that we could have an honest dialogue on the financing of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. This is an important issue for the business community and we look forward to working toward reforms that will enhance the economy and continue to serve those individuals that the system is designed to help," said Greg Baise, President and CEO, Illinois Manufacturers' Association.

"As with so many issues, Governor Ryan's leadership has started our discussions on the right track," said Margaret Blackshere, President, Illinois AFL-CIO. "We are talking frankly and openly about how to best provide for the working men and women of Illinois."

Members of the UI Task Force are:

From the Employer community:

  • Greg Baise, President and CEO, Illinois Manufacturers' Association;

  • David Vite, President, Illinois Retail Merchants Association;

  • Todd Maisch, Vice President of Government Relations, State Chamber of Commerce; and

  • Kim Maisch, State Director, National Federation of Independent Businesses.

    From the Labor community:

  • Margaret Blackshere, President, Illinois AFL-CIO;

  • Tom Balanoff, President, Service Employees International Union, Local 1;

  • Ron Powell, President, Local 881 and International Vice President United Food and Commercial Workers;

  • Ed Smith, Vice President, Laborers International Union of North America; and

  • Dennis Williams, Assistant Director, Region 4, United Auto Workers.


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