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Cuomo’s got it right on this one and we want him to stand his ground: You can’t negotiate Tier VI with unions

March 9, 2012

Cuomo: You can’t negotiate Tier VI with unions

Posted on March 8, 2012 by

Gov. Andrew Cuomo met Tuesday evening with leaders of the AFL-CIO, who raised their very public concerns about the governor’s proposal to change the new pension system, but said he would not negotiate with them over his proposed changes. Several key legislators, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, have said they won’t support changes that don’t have the thumbs-up from organized labor.

“The answer’s always going to be no,” Cuomo said during a cabinet meeting. “We just finished negotiating with our public employee unions — salaries, benefits, et cetera.” “Pensions are not subject to collective bargaining … If you just finished negotiating the contract, if someone says, go and negotiate the pension with the unions, and I’ll only pass pension reform if the union agrees — there’s nothing left to negotiate.”

“If the legislature requires acquiescence, it will not happen. Now, Tier V was negotiated by the governor with layoffs, but we have just finished negotiating layoffs and everything else in our contract discussions, which were just ratified,” he continued. “There are no more open items left.”

Cuomo’s proposal would increase the required contributions, retirement age and vesting period for a traditional defined-benefit pension. Under this model, the state is constitutionally obligated to pay employees a fixed amount based on their length of service and final average salary. Cuomo also would offer a defined-contribution model, like a 401(k), where employees would not be required to contribute.

The changes would only affect new workers.

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