Tea Party questions union coalition to address pensions

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Public sector employees now have a new advocate: The Rhode Island Retirement Security Coalition. The formation of the coalition was announced last week and is described as a group that will advocate for and inform public employees about the ongoing influx of information regarding pension changes.

Members of the coalition include the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, AFSCME Council 94, the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals, the Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers and the International Brotherhood of Police Officers- NAGE/SEIU among others.

Colleen Conley, founder and president of the Rhode Island Tea Party is calling it “business as usual in Rhode Island.”

“They’re attempting to advance their political agenda,” she said. “They’re forming a coalition to propagate a message to the public and rank-and-file employees that the status quo is sustainable.”

The AFL-CIO said in a release that the idea behind the coalition is to provide up-to-date information to union members. The Rhode Island Retirement Security Coalition (RIRSC) has already created a website featuring news stories, basic pension factoids and RI Pension Advisory Commission meeting dates.

George Nee, the president of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, said in a statement that RIRSC will provide “timely and relevant information” to union members.

“With so much information coming out almost daily,” said Nee, “many of the rank-and-file members are understandably confused and scared about what is going on with their pensions, which they have faithfully paid into week after week and year after year.”

RIRSC hopes to assuage those fears and concerns.

Jim Ginolfi, president of the Warwick Teachers’ Union, is also in support of the group.

“It’s excellent. There are all these people who paid into the system and they’ve made all their contributions,” he said, saying it is only fair they are offered some guidance in these often confusing times.

Ginolfi said the coalition is especially important in light of recent events in Central Falls, which he called “horrendous and unjustified.”

“Now they’re telling these people that 50 percent of their pensions will be cut, and they were doing what they were supposed to do.”

He said that the coalition would help to inform public employees on changes to the systems and provide them with helpful alternatives.

Conley, on the other hand, said that Central Falls is a prime example of the problems with the union leaders’ philosophies.

“They told these workers their pensions would be there, but failed to work with the public and municipalities to do so. Forming this coalition is a way for the leaders to cover their butts for what they’ve done…the rank-and-file leaders’ pensions are still fully funded…[this coalition] will distract people from their crock of lies.”

Conley also thinks that perhaps the unions have seen the power of coalitions like the Tea Party in conquering issues, like that of binding arbitration late in the session, and have tried to adopt similar tactics.

“I’m sure they’ll come up with a great effort with the General Assembly,” she said.

Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian had this to say in an e-mail asking what he thought: “We have always had fair and honest negotiation sessions with our three unions and I expect that this would continue,” he said. “All of our unions have given concessions over the last few years and they have been willing to have the tough discussions with us. I see no reason why that would not continue. I think that every group should make their opinions known during this pension debate.”

Conley firmly believes that this move is an attempt to make it look like union leaders are trying to rectify the pension issues.

But, she said, try as they might, if there’s no money, there is no way to fund the pensions.

“Reality bites. If municipalities go bankrupt, there’s no recourse.”

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Ross87

Who cares what the tea party thinks? They were a fad whose prominence has waned. And as Americans watch their stubborness and obstructionist tactics in Congress, the public's opinion continues to grow more and more negative. And now as the stock market reacts to the tea party downgrade, I think it's time we recognize their views as the radical, destructive views they are and stop paying them so much attention.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Serpico

It is a total same what the cities and state is attempting to do to the police and firemen's pensions.How in the world can they suddenly cut retirees pensions when they promised that the members would receive their pensions for life after fullfilling their obligations as law enforcement agents and firefighters. These retirees have developed their entire lives based on the incomes promised them. Do they sell their homes, forget their obligations to educate their children, sell what ever assets they have accumulated over the years, stop taking their medications or seeing their doctors because they no longer can afford health care. Most retirees in the original retirement systems of the police and firemen donot have paid insurance once they go on medicare at age 65 and pay for their own supplemental insurance. Unfortunately, I am in one of those original pension plans and at age 76 ailing with cancer with high expenses for medications. Should I just give up, lie down and die to save the city money. These pensions that were promised to the retirees where not properly funded by members of the past administrations that promised to pay a like amount into the fund. The members held up their end of the bargin and paid into the fund week after week, year after year and now those pensions will be cut.Is this the way a city or a state honors it's police and firefighters who without hesitation will rush into a burning house to save a resident.A police officer that will put him or herself in harms way to arrest a felon?

I realize that the citizens are paying high taxes that are becoming unsustainable but should we not look into other aspects of raising revenues.Lets start by cutting the salaries and eliminating the dead wood in our state and local govenment.and yes, in the educational departments where there are people teaching who cannot even speak English. Should we not look into the handout programs, such as welfare, and abused disability pensions, and the high salaries being paid to some politically connected government employees or would it not be politically correct to do so in Rhode Island.

| Thursday, August 11, 2011
perky4175

ITS TIME FOR THE CITIES AND THE STATE TO GO TO A 401K AND THE RETIREMENT AGE FOR STATE AND CITY EMPLOYES

SHOULD BE AT LEAST 62 AND THE AND RETIRIES SHOULD PAY AT LEAST 40% OF THERE HEALTH INSURANCE

ITS TIME TO MAKE CHANGES THE STATE SHOULD ALSO PRIVATIZE THE ACI HOW CAN YOU JUSTIFY PAYING A GUARD $70.000

A YEAR

Thursday, August 11, 2011
patientman

serpico is great. Don't cut mine, cut other peoples.

Thursday, August 11, 2011
shadowcaster11

LOL

The unions bought and paid for the elected criminals that promised them pensions that they never funded and were never ever sustainable.

wa wa wa now they find out they got screwed but the people they elected.

wa wa wa. You got what you paid for. You laid down with dogs. You got fleas.

Mean while anyone who is a success is leaving the failed state of Rhode Island, shrinking the pie in a death spiral that will end with bankruptcy.

Only a sweeping change getting rid of the criminal democrats that lie right to the face of their constituents and the elimination of public unions will help.

You cant blame the tea party. You cant blame the republicans. It's 100 % a criminal union democrat alliance that has destroyed this state.

| Tuesday, September 13, 2011