Public services workers take stand

Quincy public-service workers made their voices heard Thursday.

State employees gathered outside of the city's unemployment office to protest against Gov. Quinn's proposed budget cuts.

"The state of Illinois wants to fix its budget on the backs of the workers and you're not going to have a State of Illinois if you don't have any workers to run the state," Karen Boots said.

Boots is a case worker at DCFS with only eight more years until she retires. But when that time comes, the state may not have enough money for her pension.

"In order to make more cuts they're going to do something to our pension," Marcia Heitz, vice president of local American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 (AFSCME) said.

"We pay into our pensions and they want to cut our pensions, they want us paying more into it," Boots said.

The local AFSCME union held the protest outside of Quincy's unemployment office and it was part of a series of state wide events called a "Day of Action" opposing Gov. Quinn's proposed budget cuts, which include cutting pensions and jobs.

"Illinois now has the least number of employees in proportion to population of any state in the union," Heitz said. "There is no more to cut."

The protests were held to not only bring attention to the future of state employees, but also state run facilities.

"He also wants to close some of the mental health facilities and the mental health families that live there, think that's part of their home, why would he want to kick them out of their own home," John King, president of local AFSCME, said. "We're also against DHS. They're moving facilities, one from Pittsfield up to Quincy."

But even with a protest, state workers know change can't just come from them.

"State workers can't fix the budget, we've got to have the whole state of Illinois fixing the budget we have to drop spending," Boots said.