Bob Plain is the editor/publisher of Rhode Island's Future. Previously, he's worked as a reporter for several different news organizations both in Rhode Island and across the country.

11 responses to “Fla. Judge Rules Pension Reform Unconstitutional”

  1. Pat Crowley

    Bob, this SHOULD be the biggest news story of the week in Rhode Island.  Given the way Judge Taft-Carter has already ruled about the nature of the contract between the state and workers, now this?  HUGE news.  Good catch on your part.

     

    1. RightToWork

      Be careful what you wish for, Pat. Federal bankruptcy court ho. Contracts mean bub kiss there.

      Wait, what am I talking about – you don’t actually care. Your own union pension is fully funded and you already make double or triple what teachers make.

       

  2. jgardner

    To a point I actually agree with the judge. A legislature shouldn’t be able to just pass a law that rewrites a contract. The lawmakers should negotiate new terms with the union.
     
    That said, I wouldn’t expect many union leaders to play ball because they seem to be more concerned with making “getting theirs” while the system isn’t totally broken, than worrying about their members’ future and what happens if the city goes into bankruptcy and the judge rips up the contracts.

    1. RightToWork

      Of course it’s a contract. Offer, acceptance, consideration, etc. I would have ruled the same way. Progressives might be surprised to learn that a majority of the Anchor Rising folks have said the same thing.

      However, as I’ve demonstrated numerous times and is plainly obvious to anyone willing to do the math, the terms of the contracts are unsustainable and need to be drastically revised. The money isn’t there, it can’t realistically come from tax increases, and the deep structural problems of Providence and other cities can’t be magically legislated away, no matter how many politicians are in the pockets of Big Labor. The closed-shop 6-figure union leaders don’t actually care about their members because they get paid their outrageous compensation and benefits regardless of what happens, so they’d rather that the state force their hand while they howl and rage for the cameras to maintain their carefully maintained radical proletariat image.

      This is where the bankruptcy process comes in – the Federal judge is going to take one look at 5-6% COLA, the 80% tax-free disability retirement of the 90′s, and so on and invalidate all of these unsustainable terms. The contracts will be rightfully relegated to the dustbin of corrupt Rhode Island labor history and public sector retirees will get fairer, far less generous terms. The law has ways of dealing with those unable to get their own house in order.

  3. simon846

    I am not sure, but I thought I read somewhere that States cannot declare bankruptcy.

    1. RightToWork

      But municipalities can – and will.

      1. Brian Hull

        And have.

    2. Sully

      States cannot declare bankruptcy, so the pension benefits of state employees cannot be restructured by a bankruptcy proceeding.

  4. Barry

    I would add to the above that not only is muni bankruptcy a worse threat to pensions, but union refusal to renegotiate would also be a significant political mistake as it will contribute to even more public hostiltity to unions in general.  There will be no public support for pensioners getting guaranteed “COLAs” beyond the cost of living (especially after social security recipients got 0% COLAs for two consecutive years) plus some union retirees resisting medicare for whom almost everyone else is good enough.  The union leadership has too long ignored public opinion and the consequences are rapidly coming due.

  5. DogDiesel

    Lets not forget that it takes two to negotiate a contract. Up until now, state and municipal administrations have been cowards when negotiating contracts. You can’t put this all on the unions. Every city and town that has binding arbitration should be heading there with cuts. Every school district should do what E. Providence did during negotiations and cut pay and benefits in the absence of a valid contract. I have no problem with unions but when the economy dictates a need for them to give back, then why would the cities and towns just ask for no raises?

  6. simon846

    When will RI Judge make her ruling?
     

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