NIU launches website to track pension issues

Seal of the State of IllinoisNorthern Illinois University has launched yourpension.niu.edu, a website designed specifically to help employees stay informed on the debate in Springfield regarding employee pensions.

“There are few issues with potentially greater consequences, and we want to ensure that employees, annuitants and others have easy access to the most up-to-date information and resources to help them understand proposed changes,” said NIU President John Peters.

The site will also provide a “Share Your Stories” link where employees can write about how the proposed changes will affect their lives.

“Lost in the rush to address this issue is the fact that this the proposed solutions will have a profound impact on the lives of thousands of state employees and annuitants,” Peters said. “It is important to put a face on this issue, so we hope employees will take this opportunity to remind lawmakers that it is more than just the state’s bottom line that will be affected; it’s the lives of those of us who work on behalf of the people of Illinois.”

Stories shared via that link might be featured in NIU Today or used as part of university efforts to demonstrate – to media, legislators and other audiences – the far-reaching effects of this issue.

In addition to that feature, the page will include many of the aspects familiar to employees who have relied upon the State Pension & Budget Update website for the past year.

  • Resource Page – A collection of reports and analyses that provide background on the pension issue and proposed solutions.
  • Latest News – Links to news stories from websites and newspapers around the state covering the pension issue.
  • Campus Updates – Messages from President Peters, university lobbyists and others who will provide analysis of issues as they pertain specifically to NIU employees and annuitants.
  • Legislation – Links to the latest legislation being discussed.
  • Legislators – Links to tools that allow employees to find contact information for their legislators.

In an email to the campus community Tuesday, Peters restated his opposition to SB 512 as drafted.

“While well-intentioned, I do not believe it is a viable solution to the challenges facing the state in regard to the long-term solvency of its public employee pension system, the state budget, and our university community,” the president wrote.

“Tens of thousands of Illinoisans who have never failed to make their contribution to their retirement plan stand to have their futures irrevocably and detrimentally altered with the passage of SB 512,” the letter continued. “While change is necessary, we owe it to those who have depended on the State meeting its obligation to find a long-term, rational approach to pension funding that will pass the constitutional litmus test.”

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