News from the Cook County Court Interpreters

2/14/13: Cook County Pension

Across Illinois, state employees are facing increasing pressure to dramatically change their pension benefit. The Cook County Court Interpreters are facing the potential for serious changes to their pension plan. There has been a lot of options thrown around, and the Guild and all the other unions are doing what it can to make sure that all County employees get a fair deal going forward. One proposal that has raised some eyebrows is from Bridget Ganier, the 10th district commissioner for Cook County. Full details can be seen at

For CURRENT employees:

  • Increase the age of retirement for full benefit by 5 years
    • Age of 55 with 30 years of service receives full benefit
    • Age of 65 with 10 years of service receives full benefit
  • With less than 30 years/between 55 and 65 years old
    • Reduced benefit
    • Annuity reduced by ½% for each month before age 65 (IE 12 months to 65, 6%)
  • Reduce the benefit multiplier from 2.4% to 2.2%
  • Calculate final average salary using the highest consecutive 8 year period in last 10 years of service
  • Reduce COLA to a simple 3% rate or ½ of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is lower*
  • Employee Contributions increased by 1%
  • Vesting time would be lowered from 10 years to 5 years

For RETIRED employees:

  • Reduce COLA to a simple 3% rate or ½ of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is lower

COLA Freezes

  • In the event of the pension fund status falling below 80%
    • Retirees will not receive annual COLA
    • Retirees will receive 3% compounded interest every 5 years
  • Once the fund goes above 80% funded, Normal COLA would resume

This is just a proposal that is on the table, but it is important to keep everyone up to date on the pension, which will surely be an issue when Cook County negotiates with the Guild and other unions.

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