Union leader: Opposing pension settlement deal is irrational

March 19th, 2014 at 11:01 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Opposition to the proposed Rhode Island pension settlement from rank-and-file union members and retirees is “neither rational nor legally sound,” according to one of their leaders who is backing the deal.

Roger Boudreau, president of the Rhode Island American Federation of Teachers’ retirees chapter and a member of the state Retirement Board, made the comments in a Monday email to members of the Rhode Island Public Employees Retiree Coalition (RIPERC), the lead plaintiffs in the case.

“If you have already cast your ballot into the waste basket, you have made a rational and informed decision to agree to the Settlement,” Boudreau wrote in the message, which was obtained by WPRI.com.

The email was sent soon after 24,297 ballots were mailed to union members and retirees to weigh in on the settlement, and just before The Providence Journal revealed at least one was sent to a dead woman; she would effectively be a “yes” vote, since those who don’t return a ballot are counted as favoring the deal.

In the email – which was authenticated by plaintiffs spokesman Ray Sullivan – Boudreau criticized “emails and postings by various individuals and groups in opposition to the Settlement which are inaccurate, and which exhibit, either unintentionally or otherwise, misinformation or misapplication of the Agreement terms.”

“Anyone in a position of local or chapter leadership who opines or promotes opposition to the Agreement is acting contrary to its terms and does not represent the position taken by RIPERC or its member organizations,” Boudreau wrote.

“Those who are opposed to the settlement are operating under emotions which are completely justified and understandable,” he said. “However, they are neither rational nor legally sound.”

Here’s the full text of Boudreau’s email (emphasis in the original):

This second newsletter is intended to follow the ballot mailing which took place on Friday, March 14, 2014. Because of the complexity of the terms of the Settlement Agreement, it is important that RIPERC members understand the impact of the terms. There have been a number of emails and postings by various individuals and groups in opposition to the Settlement which are inaccurate, and which exhibit, either unintentionally or otherwise, misinformation or misapplication of the Agreement terms:

· The “one-time” 2% COLA for 2014, based on the 2013 indexed cap of $25,000 will provide up to $500 this year. The amount will be added to the current benefit you are receiving annually. Like all past COLAs, the amount added to your current benefit remains there as your new benefit base (see Power Point examples on ripensioninfo.org). A current $35,000 pension benefit becomes $35,500 for 2014 and remains at $35,500 for 2015 and 2016. It is the 2% that is “one time,” not the COLA which remains as part of your new base benefit going forward.

· In 2017, under the Agreement, with the exception of those members in MERS plans that are already 80% (or better) funded and who begin receiving annual COLAs this year (2.67%) and every year going forward, everyone will get a COLA based on the new formula, regardless of the funding level of the fund. Some local leadership communications have misinformed their members that the fund needs to be at 80% before a COLA is awarded; that is only true for a COLA given every year. The COLA given by the new formula in 2017 will create a new pension benefit base that will remain unchanged until the next COLA is awarded in 2021. Your new amount in 2017 will be the same for 2018, 2019, and 2020.

· The 50/50 formula based on pension fund performance and the CPI-U has been conservatively estimated to yield 2% on average annually. This is important because the 2013 $25,000 COLA cap is indexed annually by this formula (see under Documents on ripensioninfo.org: Exhibit C – Proposed legislation, page 53, lines 22-24). For 2014, the cap has been increased to $25,168 based on the old formula under RIRSA. If our new formula had been used, the new cap would now be $25,272. Indexing the new cap each year at an average of 2% by our new formula will add about $500 each year to the cap. By 2021, the cap is projected by these assumptions to be at $32,000 (see Power Point presentation/video at ripensioninfo.org), when the second COLA will be awarded.

· The CPI-U as calculated the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is not the same as the CPI-W which is used to calculate the annual COLA for Social Security. One email received by RIPERC directed opposed members to the agreement to a Facebook page by stating that the CPI-U in “recent years” was 0%, 0%, and 1.5%. Those are Social Security COLAs for 2009, 2010, and 2013, respectively. The CPI-U in our formula was -0.4% (effectively 0%) for 2009, 1.6% for 2010, 3.2% for 2011, 2.1% for 2012, and 1.5% for 2013. The CPI-U average for the last 5 years is 1.68% (based on -0.4% in 2009). It’s 2.39% for the last 10 years (see BLS website: January 2014 report, Table 24, page 94). The Social Security CPI-W average is 1.36% for the last 5 years but that is not the standard we are using in this Agreement.

There are a number of other misinterpretations and misrepresentations out there, and some of them will be addressed over the coming week as you consider your vote.

Anyone in a position of local or chapter leadership who opines or promotes opposition to the Agreement is acting contrary to its terms and does not represent the position taken by RIPERC or its member organizations. Those who are opposed to the settlement are operating under emotions which are completely justified and understandable. However, they are neither rational nor legally sound. The plaintiffs to the lawsuits have had the legal counsel of some of the best minds engaged in labor law. Lynette Labinger, Esq., Jerry Cobleigh Esq., and all the other plaintiff attorneys involved in the Settlement Agreement have agreed by unanimous consensus that we should approve the settlement. Our own highly respected labor attorney, Carly Iafrate, Esq., and Chief Legal Counsel for the AARP Foundation, Jay Sushelsky, Esq. who has worked closely with us throughout the mediation process, are a part of that consensus.

The next RIPERC newsletter will offer a perspective on why protracted litigation in this matter is not in our members’ best interests. If you have not already cast a ballot rejecting the Agreement but are leaning in that direction, you may want to wait until later this week. If you have already cast your ballot into the waste basket, you have made a rational and informed decision to agree to the Settlement.

Ted Nesi ( tnesi@wpri.com ) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com and writes the Nesi’s Notes blog. Follow him on Twitter: @tednesi

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54 Responses to “Union leader: Opposing pension settlement deal is irrational”

  1. Steve says:

    But the appropriate question is why was the voting structured in such a way that is heavily tilted in favor of passage? Dead people are getting ballots that will be counted as votes to accept. Ballots that never reach their intended recipients will be counted as votes to accept. Ballots mailed to distant locations that may not allow enough time for receipt and return prior to the April 3 deadline will be counted as votes to accept.

    That is the most egregious part of the settlement. Not the less-than-favorable terms, but the third-world dictatorship voting process.

    1. WAKE UP. says:

      Well said!

    2. CJ-RI says:

      It’s Thursday, 3/20, and I haven’t rec’d a ballot yet. That perked my curiosity to see if any others haven’t rec’d theirs yet either. Do I contact ProMail? Does anyone know the contact person/number if so?

  2. Snow says:

    It’s time the Judge, Sarah Taft-Carter, became involved in this travesty. She needs to put a stop to this vote. Further, I am appalled at the gender bias of Roger Boudreu, calling women teachers who vote against this ludicrous settlement as irrational and emotional. Rhode Island has the best labor legal minds–I think not. Union leadership is afraid the protracted settlement will cost too much.

    1. against Abuse of power says:

      I resent being categorized as irrational and not legally sound because I do not agree with the opinion of the leadership president. What makes this abuse of power AFT-R President become the authority of what is rational and legally sound?
      He is not a lawyer and has no authority to say such unprofessional things esp when before mediation, he too, supported litigation and going to Court. What criterion makes him rational and sound and not those who oppose? This is unprofessional and abuse of power-to say such comments- This went out to hundreds and hundreds of AFT-R people. He needs to stop bad mouthing and intimidating retirees who do not support the position of the leadership
      And his last paragraphs is a mockery of the balloting process to which was unfair in the first place, esp now with dead people voting, lists used where people who should be getting a ballot are not and those who are not supposed to vote are getting a ballot…

      This is what Pres Boudreau wrote. The next RIPERC newsletter will offer a
      perspective on why protracted litigation in this matter is not in our
      members’ best interests. If you have not already cast a ballot rejecting the Agreement but are leaning in that direction, you may want to wait until later this week. If you have already cast your ballot into the waste basket, you have made a rational and informed decision
      to agree to the Settlement…..
      Imagine telling members to throw your vote in the waste basket is a rational decision…
      No one in leadership should be telling their people how to vote, to throw away their ballot, to say those who vote no are not rational and legally unsound. This is intimidation. They are there to give both sides and let the members themselves vote their conscience. And just remember May is the time when elections come for him and the other union officers.. Remember this and vote him out. Who wants a president who promises to uphold a flawed document and then attacks all who disagree?

      And I had to laugh…great legal minds? I think not.. It is Treasurer Raimondo who hired the
      .great legal mind. She has David Boies (and he is charging her only $50.00 an hour. We would have been charged $500-$1000 if Mr Boies represented the average person..So why does she rate? It must be that NY connection she had when she had her Point Judith Investments for 10 years and accumulated a lot of friends like ex mayor Bloomberg and Boies…The Union does not have big name lawyers- just local lawyers and a freebie from Wash DC under AARP.
      Look at these cases by Mr Boies…And then you know why the SA is airtight to screw the union members out of what is rightfully theirs—the legal contracted pension… Look at these notable cases of David Boises:

      At Cravath, Boies assisted top litigator Thomas D. Barr in defending IBM in the 13-year antitrust cases brought by the Justice Department and many private competitors.
      Also at Cravath, he represented the Justice Department in the United States v. Microsoft case. Boies won a “victory” at trial,[6] and the verdict was upheld on appeal. The appellate court overturned the relief ordered (breakup of the company) back to the trial court for further proceedings. Thereafter, the George W. Bush administration settled the case. Bill Gates said Boies was “out to destroy Microsoft.”[7] In 2001, the Washington Monthly called Boies “a brilliant trial lawyer”, “a latter-day Clarence Darrow,” and “a mad genius” for his work on the Microsoft case.[6]
      Boies represented New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner in a suit against Major League Baseball. This involved an action against all the teams. The Atlanta Braves were owned by Time Warner, a longtime Cravath client, who objected to his representation of the Yankees.
      He defended CBS in the action brought by General William Westmoreland. The general abandoned his case during the trial.
      Following the 2000 U.S. presidential election, he represented Vice President Al Gore in Bush v. Gore.[7]
      Boies defended Napster when the company was sued by the RIAA for facilitating copyright infringement.
      In November 2003, he represented Andrew Fastow, deposed Chief Financial Officer of Enron.
      Boies was retained by the SCO Group, during the SCO-Linux controversies, in their pursuit of alleged infringement of their rights to the Unix intellectual properties.
      In 2006, Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP negotiated a major settlement with The American International Group on behalf of its client, C. V. Starr, a firm controlled by Maurice R. Greenberg, the former chairman and chief executive of A.I.G.[8]
      Boies negotiated on behalf of American Express two of the highest civil antitrust settlements ever for an individual company: $2.25 billion from Visa, and $1.8 billion from MasterCard.[9]
      Boies is representing filmmaker Michael Moore regarding a Treasury Department investigation into Moore’s trip to Cuba while filming for Sicko.[10]
      On June 24, 2009, following the California Supreme Court ruling on Strauss v. Horton, Boies joined former Solicitor General Theodore Olson, the opposing attorney in Bush v. Gore, in the lawsuit Perry v. Schwarzenegger seeking to overturn the state of California’s Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage.[11] In August 2010, the District Court judge ruled in their clients’ favor, findingProposition 8 to be unconstitutional. On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the proponents of Proposition 8 did not have standing to challenge the ruling, allowing the District Court judgment to stand. Same-sex marriages resumed in California on June 28, 2013.
      Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP assisted the government in obtaining a $155 million settlement from Medco Health Solutions related to a qui tam complaint which alleged that Medco, “systematically and intentionally switched patients’ prescriptions in an effort to increase the market share for certain pharmaceutical manufacturers, and thereby increased hidden rebate payments it received from pharmaceutical manufacturers.”[12] In response to the settlement, Mr. Boies said, “I am very happy that lawyers from Boies, Schiller & Flexner were able to contribute to the litigation and settlement of this qui tam case, which will result in important changes in the way pharmacy managers do business by increasing their level of accountability to their patients. We are also very happy we could help the government recover the money it was erroneously billed by Medco, and that Medco agreed to execute a Corporate Integrity Agreement which will govern their conduct in the future.”[13]
      On August 20, 2009 the Golden Gate Yacht Club announced that he had been retained in their ongoing dispute with Société Nautique de Genève regarding the 33rd America’s Cup.[14]
      In March, 2010, David Boies joined the team of attorneys representing Jamie McCourt in her divorce from Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt.[15]
      Boies is part of the legal team representing the National Football League in their antitrust litigation, Brady v. NFL.[16]
      Boies represented the National Basketball Players Association during the 2011 NBA lockout. He joined sides with Jeffrey Kessler, who opposed Boies as a representative for the players in the2011 NFL lockout.[17]
      Boies was the lead counsel for Oracle Corporation in its lawsuit against Google on the use of Java (programming language) technology in the Android (operating system). The case decided that Google did not infringe on Oracle’s patents.[18]
      In 2012, Boies represented three tobacco companies, Philip Morris USA Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Liggett Group LLC in their appeal of a $2.5 million Tampa jury verdict in the death of smoker Charlotte Douglas.[19]
      In late 2012, Boies defended Gary Jackson, former President of Academi, (previously known as BlackWater) in a Federal prosecution which alleges he and his co-defendants illegally hid firearm purchases from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives[20]

      Union lawyers don’t even come close!!!!
      Need i say more?

    2. B says:

      Speaking of gender bias, police and fire will continue to receive an annual cola–
      teachers will not.
      which group has the larger percentage of females..?

    3. WAKE UP. says:

      MR. BOUDREAU NEEDS TO CLOSE HIS MOUTH AND STOP THIS SHAM. UNION LEADERSHIP HAS FAILED ITS’ MEMBERS MISERABLY. LEADERSHIP SHOULD DIG INTO THEIR BANK ACCOUNTS AND INVESTMENTS AND LIVE LIKE THE REST OF US DO. THEY HAVE FORGOTTEN THAT THEY WORK FOR US !!!!! WE NEED TO PROTEST EVERY SINGLE CROOKED STEP IN THIS SO-CALLED SETTLEMENT PROPOSAL.

  3. oreo says:

    Time for the teachers union to boot Mr. Boudreau OUT! What a DOPE! The state told the unions they would face MASSIVE layoffs if they proceed. The union heads can NOT lose their members, less money for them. All Mr. Boudreau cares about is his own pay check, FIRE him!

    1. WAKE UP. says:

      AMEN !

  4. Sabrina says:

    not surprised! the entire union system is corrupt!! The President of the RI AFLCIO is in the RI State House on on the floors of the General Assembly skulking around very single day …..he’s there more than the Reps & Senators themselves!!! Its a TRAVESTY!! we need to get rid of all of them!!

  5. Jeff Crawford says:

    This process is as bad as the 1948 US Senate Race in Texas with Lyndon Johnson.

    On this date in 1948, Box 13 in Duval County provided Lyndon Johnson the victory margin as the gangly congressman from Johnson City won a hotly contested Senate race by 87 votes.

    Six days after election, authorities in Alice (now in Jim Wells County) “discovered” 202 additional ballots in precinct #13 that had not been counted.

    I wonder where our ballots are going.

  6. Fruma says:

    Having worked briefly for a firm that used mailing lists, these lists need to be updated yearly or at least bi-annually if they are to have any validity. A mailing list that is five years old, as the one that sent mail to a women who died in 2009, is worthless. It is not only that they are mailing to people who are deceased, they are mailing to the wrong address! Mailing lists go out of date at the rate of at least 15% per year. All mail misdirected then automatically counts as a yes vote for the union and Raimondo. This process is a farce and no one can dispute that. Then those ballots that get returned with the no vote will have to be counted by ProMail, a sheltered workshop.

  7. janri says:

    All I know is that I’m a retiree and I have received nothing to date regarding voting. Does that mean My vote is already cast for me? I’ve never in my life have seen such a corrupt voting process, with the exception of the Crimea vote Russia just staged and then again Rhode Island political voting. Absurd and again an insult to our intelligence. The unions should be ashamed of themselves for accepting this. If the union thought this was going to win over union members and influence others, they were mistaken.

  8. Tradita says:

    I believe my reason for voting “No” is logical and rational, and is based on the fact that this “settlement” ignores the valid question of whether or not it was legal to break written agreements with those who were already retired by November 17, 2011, the date on which the general assembly passed the pension “reform” law.

    If the union leadership has some previously-undisclosed information which they feel we need in order to make an informed decision, then either the information should have gone out to members sooner, or more time should be given for the voting. They took almost a year and a half to form an agreement, so what’s the rush now?

  9. George says:

    The union leadership must feel pretty strongly that they will lose in court. I think their right. But, if I was in the union or retired I would vote no. The earlier posters are correct, this vote is a farce. If the list hasn’t been updated for five years and votes not sent in count as no votes, the process certainly isn’t fair to the plaintiffs.

    1. WAKE UP. says:

      We have very little to lose by going to court. The state, on the other hand has A LOT to lose.

      1. George says:

        Yes, that’s why I think you should go to court.

  10. Public good says:

    The way I see the settlement is this: If you are already retired or have more than 20 years of service it is a good settlement for you. Between 15 and 20 years of service it’s a borderline deal. If you have less than 15 years of service the settlement does absolutely nothing for you. You are better off going to court. Even if you lose in court you don’t lose anything. If we win in court it goes back to it was before. If they claim bankruptcy you still really didn’t lose much. The difference of 2% a year versus 1% per year of service is all that should matter to you. The cola will be based on squat once you retire if you only get the 1% credit per year.
    As I said the only people this deal actually helps out are already retired or more than 20 years in. I only have8 years in so I am voting no as at this point I really have nothing to lose.

    1. WAKE UP. says:

      How do you see this as a “good deal” for those with 20 plus years invested???

      1. Public good says:

        Those with 20 plus years will still receive 2% per year of service towards a “defined benefit”.

      2. Mike says:

        Those with 20+ years of service are already getting 2% per year up until the reform in 2011. All this BS settlement does is reinstate the 2% for 2011 til retirement – though the emploiyee contribution got upped to 11%! The settlement ignored the fact that someone, for example, with 26 years of service in 2011 was eligible to retire in two years at age 50, but after the reform, has to wait until age 59. This settlement did nothing to reinstatement the original contractual retirement age.

  11. John says:

    I totally agree with the points made in both of your paragraphs. It makes no sense to lump the numerous categories of plaintiffs into one bundle for purposes of a class action settlement. That only benefits the state and the union leadership by dodging the real issues raised by the 2011 law. Any changes to agreements reached before the passage of that law should be implemented prospectively, I.e., for people who can factor the impact of these major changes into their decisions of if and when to retire. To retroactively change conditions agreed to by ERSRI and retirees already retired is definitely unfair and probably illegal. Furthermore, the process being used in this vote is highly suspect and reeks of collusion, not mediation. Judge Taft should put an end to this charade.

  12. Matt D says:

    There is one fact aside from the farce of the vote that a lot of people do not mention and that is the fact that if approved, the members will be bound by the agreement and the State will not be. I really don’t think that many people are aware of this fact which is clearly stated on Page 2 of Exhibit D. Exhibit D allows the General Assembly to make further changes to the pension plan at any time they see fit in the future. This was probably left out of the main portion of the agreement with the hope that people won’t notice it. I’m sure that Mr. Irrational, Roger Boudreau is well aware of this document and I had posted my concern about this on another forum and guess what? An individual who has been active in Union leadership for years (Not sure if he still is) responded to me by saying that they do indeed have the right to make further changes and we as a Union have the right to file a suit over those changes. Really, we’re almost 5 years into this suit and we’re going to give in now and then start this process all over again in a couple of years?????? Wake up people, you’re being played by your leadership big time.

    http://ripensioninfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ex-D.pdf

  13. John says:

    Just for purposes of clarification, I was responding to the two paragraphs in Tradita’s comments.

  14. WAKE UP. says:

    EVERY SINGLE MEMBER WHO AGREES THAT THIS PROPOSED SETTLEMENT IS A TRAVESTY SHOULD BE CALLING AND E-MAILING EVERY UNION LEADER THAT WAS INVOLVED IN THIS PROCESS. GET THE WORD OUT TO EVERYONE. WHEN MS. RAIMONDO WAS CRAFTING THIS PLAN, OUR UNION LEADERS REPEATEDLY HAD US WRITE LETTERS, MAKE PHONE CALLS AND SEND E-MAILS TO EVERY POLITICIAN IN THE STATE HOUSE. NOW THAT THEY HAVE SOLD US OUT, IT IS TIME FOR US TO LET THE LEADERSHIP HEAR OUR OUTRAGE.

    1. Tom says:

      Both my wife and I are retired from the State and are out of State now. We will not be returning to RI until April 1. We would like to vote no on the ballot. If the ballots are postmarked by April 2 are they valid? Thank you.

  15. Donald McKiernan says:

    Across the United States as many plaintiffs have won as states. It depends on State Law. Is the pension system a contract under Rhode Island law? It’s worth a lousy $500 to find out. VOTE NO! and vote Mr. Boudreau off our Pension Board. He certainly doesn’t represent retired teachers.

  16. Mrs B says:

    How about those members with the correct amount of service years by the stated cut off date that weren’t mailed ballots. Apparently, my contact info was not on the list submitted to promail so that I would even receive a ballot. In speaking with another colleague with the same exact number of service years is in the exact same boat… No ballot received. Seems a little odd…

  17. Fruma says:

    My husband hasn’t received his either. He went to one of the meetings in which the union attempted to explain itself and was told that there would be two separate mailings and votes and that we would be in the second. This whole process is beyond belief. If I were still writing fiction, I would never use this scenario — no one would believe it. As a native Rhode Islander, even I have trouble believing it.

  18. Outraged! says:

    What a sham! VOTE NO!

  19. dee dee says:

    the ballot needs to be thrown out…It was rigged from day 1 by Raimondo’s top notch lawyers.,..esp Mr Boies…the lawyer of all lawyers. He knew what he was doing. The 6 coalition leaders need to be thrown out at their next election.
    The ballots have numbers on them. It is not a secret ballot. They will know how you voted and that can and will intimidate voters.
    All the pension voters who vote NO can be identified. The yes people don’t have to do anything. They won’t be identified. This is outrageous. You call this fair?
    And the coalition leaders allowed this to happen..They took away your Constitutional right. You cannot get a lawyer and litigate on your own. You cannot sue . In fact you don;t even have a lawyer if you vote NO…This is all in the Settlement Agreement. The lawyers work for the Boards and for Roger. They don;t work for the dues paying member in good standing who may wish to vote NO…..instead that person gets insulted by the arrogant AFT-R President who has the nerve to say to members that if they don’t vigorously support the SA then they are not rational and legally unsound…This is intimidation-abuse of power…Why isn’t the AG investigating the ballot abuse as well as this abuse of power by a union leader to members who may disagree?

  20. F Scott Fitzgerald says:

    Say what Mr. Boudreau wants but this is one of mose convoluted unfair deals ever to be presented to the rank and file. He calls the “no” votes irrational. Illogical in what way? Many of us worked for the state for a long time and why because of the benefits package which included pension rights. We signed a contract when we started our employment and we signed a contract along with the retirement board when we retired. We were promised certain rights and privileges for our long term service. And then what happens we elect a General Treasurer who each day prove how inexperienced she is, how conniving she can be and how manipulative she truly is. The thought of the Retirement Board supporting her actions is inexcusable and quite frankly in makes me wonder what their payoff will be. If it wasn’t so important, the so-called press conference was show gone bad. The union leadership were forced to support the farce. Only a “select” few were allowed to speak and only in support of the proposal. Gina ran around the room like a new employee trying to make a name for herself. The attorney who did most of the talking spent more time shuffling her papers avoiding any comments of substance. For something was supposed win over pensioners it failed dismally. Last but not least is the manipulative way they are handling the voting. If you DON’T RETURN YOUR BALLOT IT WILL BE COUNTED AS A YES! This is corruption at its worse. It is disappointing, unfair, and discriminatory. Anyone who supports this plan should think twice and if you vote in favor, HANG YOU HEAD IN SHAME, for you have dishonored state service and those you are supposed to represent.

  21. Outraged! says:

    Kim Jun Un of North Korea ,who just was “re-elected” with 100% of the vote couldn’t have drawn up a better “democratic” sha.. ehh.. umm system. Union members need to do better than “Vote No!”. They need to speak to their local leaders and demand a fair, free and truly democratic voting process. The people who drew up this plan have no shame but they truly ought to.

  22. Joe says:

    Look if you Gals will just be quiet and be happy with your $9 a week Gina has promised she will throw her meat loaf recipe into the deal.

    1. WAKE UP. says:

      LOL! Sounds fair.(Sarcasm) Does Ms. Raimondo actually think anyone is buying her campaign designed to prove she’s “just like all the other working mothers of Rhode Island” ??? She’s GOT to be kidding! Not sure whose idea that was, however, it comes off incredibly phony and condescending.

  23. Mary says:

    The corruption in this deal needs to be investigated. Fortune Magazine, Rolling Stone Magazine and The New York Times have been commenting on the dangers and the unfairness of this pension fiasco since the very beginning but local media has pretty much ignored it. The entire country is watching Rhode Island and the treasurer’s hedge fund backers are waiting in the wings — the CEO of Enron among them. We were told, at that large meeting at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, that only the 7,000 members who contributed to the legal defense fund would receive ballots this first time. Therefore, we were the only people allowed at the meeting. If 24,297 ballots have been mailed out, most have gone to people who were not even allowed to hear the explanation of the settlement which presentation, by the way, was extremely controlled by Mr. Beaudreau. When people highly qualifief in matters of finance tried to explain that the numbers presented simply did not make sense, their comments were very unceremoniously dismissed. The one woman on the mediation team who objected to the settlement was immediately and involuntarily dismissed from the team. This entire scene needs to be opened up and investigated.

  24. Bob says:

    take it you greedy whiners or lose in court.

    1. WAKE UP. says:

      Is that what you would do if it were your career, your contribution, and your pension??? I don’t think so.

    2. Tom C. says:

      your losing as well bob. that’s your tax money go to wall street and (or already went/lost)getting pissed away to. a pool of money ripe for the taking. why do you think engage ri is here? some texas billionaire cares about a bunch of yankees? i think not.

  25. Mary says:

    If you had contributed 9.5% of your pre-tax salary to the pension system, for several decades, Bob, having no choice in the process, I think you might feel differently.

    1. Tradita says:

      Mary, I agree. The state took 8.75% of every one of my paychecks for almost 40 years, then mismanaged the money.

      Our union leaders are telling us to vote for this settlement…put your anger aside, they say…

      But if this settlement goes forward, a precedent will be set that supports ignoring whether or not pension “reform” is legal. This precedent will say, it’s OK to break the law if no one notices or says anything.

      To me this is not logical. I refuse to approve any “settlement” until the legal issues have been decided.

  26. Paxmaker says:

    this proposed deal is terrible for retirees. The active employees are the reason the union bosses want a yes, so they can continue to collect dues and get paid. The action of the state is criminal, IMHO. They ramp up new spending programs and give outrageous fees to hedge funds with our COLA money. Vote a resounding NO to this baloney deal. BTW, the positive comments here are mostly shills for your dues money. Say NO and consider kicking out the current lousy union lawyers

  27. George says:

    State workers should be allowed to opt out of the union! Vote no and then lobby the general assembly to make Rhode Island a right to work state. The rank and file have been sold down the river by the unions.

  28. janri says:

    The way that the voting was set to take place was the biggest fraudulent act perpetrated by the state and the unions. The only act that is worst is this is the Russia and the Crimea vote. You saw what the world thought of that voting. As a retiree, I’ve yet to receive a ballot to vote and I have lived where I live for 30 years. Pretty convenient…don’t send ballots and those will be counted as yes. The legality of this voting certainly has to be challenged or revisited. To allow this vote to serve as the opinion of he union members or retirees is a complete fraud and if allowed to stand, it’s time to think about the union leaders and what good or purpose they serve to have agreed to this! And let’s not forget to turn our attention to the politicians and representatives at election time, who have conspired against us. Perhaps that is how they run public elections and keep getting elected despite our dissatisfaction with them. Dead and people who don’t vote are counted as a vote for them

  29. B says:

    As stated at one of the meetings—none of the people negotiating had any idea anyone would object to the one way voting process.
    –Are these the top talents Mr.Boudreau was referring to?
    PS: keep a Xerox copy of your ballot.

  30. John says:

    Notice what’s happening while all these shenanigans are going on. Chaffee is on another junket. Raimondo is out politicking for governor. The GA is dealing with God knows what.
    A voting process that involves billions of dollars is being dealt with in a totally inept and probably criminal way. Union bosses are selling their membership down the toilet. The Projo thinks everything is OK. If this process is allowed to play out as it is being set up, there will be further ramifications beyond those anticipated by the people orchestrating it. There’s a saying , “What goes around comes around.” The beneficiaries of this rip off will be held accountable. If not in the immediate , then in the future, when their reputations will be mud. What an accomplishment . You ripped off a bunch of retirees.

  31. Tradita says:

    …People getting 2 ballots, dead people getting ballots, people who should get a ballot not receiving one…

    What recourse to public employees and retirees have against these unforeseen problems resulting from the way the voting was set up?

    We can’t ask the union leadership or RIPERC legal counsel to do anything about this, because they are bound by their agreement to support the settlement.

    We can’t ask Judge Carter-Taft to do anything about it, because that would be considered ex parte communication even if RIPERC wasn’t represented by legal counsel.

    So, now what? Do we just hope enough “No” votes are submitted?

    1. Matt D says:

      If the judge has one ounce of integrity, she will put a halt to the flawed process immediately, there is more than enough proof to do so. I also know of someone who got two separate votes. Hopefully there will be enough “NO” votes submitted to throw this back in their faces. Only thing then is that the state and unions will probably cry foul and want the vote redone.

  32. Paul Vincent Zecchino says:

    “They often win because they never play without a stacked deck.” – ‘Philip Marlowe’, c. Raymond Chandler

    The reason they never play without their stacked deck is because they know they’re a house of cards.

  33. Tradita says:

    FOR THOSE RECEIVING MORE THAN ONE BALLOT:

    IMO, anyone who received two ballots should vote with and mail both of them, because there are six separate categories/groups getting ballots.

    Each group/category gets a different color ballot. If you receive two ballots, and those ballots are different colors, that means the ballots are from two separate groups. They are, in effect, not duplicate ballots.

    If the vote in each of the six groups/categories must be at least 50% to defeat the settlement, then those who received ballots from more than one category must send in both ballots in order to participate in the vote for each category of voters.

    Otherwise, you are considered a “yes” vote within the group for which you do not send in a ballot.

    This problem can cause the votes to be skewed in favor of approval of the settlement.

  34. This is a terrible settlement proposal. State and general Assembly failed to let Congressional delegation know that Fed and Federal Reserve policies were killing pension funds. Hence,no stimulus funds were requested. Treasurer opted to go out on the risk curve, using retirees COLA money to preserve the pension fund for all. N. Retirees are not a proper party to the proposed settlement. Nor are vested employees. This solution preserves dues to pay union executive salaries and current union lawyer retainer, but not for the pension fund member. Time to say NO to this deal and to FIRE the negotiating team.

  35. Great law firm details. Kudos for your requirements for writing this. I will occur here again for much more. Any experience with drunk driving Attorney at law?

  36. M says:

    And what about teachers with less than 10 years who get no vote and nothing to gain from this? We pay union dues, but are the worst off. Isn’t that taxation without representation? I know teachers who should have gotten ballots by now still have not received them. Perhaps no return should be a “no” vote instead of a yes?

    1. John says:

      Actually, that is a great suggestion!