Gina Raimondo didn’t want to come to the negotiating table voluntarily, but now thanks to a court order she will have to sit down with organized labor and Gov. Linc Chafee to try to hammer out a compromise on Rhode Island’s landmark pension reform law, according to a story first reported by WPRI.
Chafee has already been meeting with union leaders and Raimondo said she didn’t want to join those talks. Judge Sarah Taft-Carter’s ruling today means she has to. Raimondo has said if a court ordered her to negotiate that she would do so in good faith.
NEA-RI Executive Director Bob Walsh, who has been involved in the talks with Chafee, said he thinks a compromise can be worked out by February.
“I expect we will have a busy month of January,” said a very pleased Bob Walsh today. “We’ll have a big group, as we should, because everybody has different issues to bring forward.”
Here’s what I expect labor to be asking the state to budge on behind closed doors this January:
- Set a less stringent retirement age, which was unilaterally raised in the reform legislation
- Reduce the amount of time the annual cost of living increase to pensions will be suspended
- Make the new system less reliant on a 401k-style, or defined contribution, plan
If the parties aren’t able to reach an agreement, a trial could still start as soon as early May.