Streams

The Public Employee Response to Pensions

Monday, June 13, 2011

Governor Cuomo has proposed increasing pension contributions from new public employees and raising the retirement age. Greg Floyd, President of Teamsters Local 237, representing school safety officers and other public employees, responds to the Governor's proposal. 

Guests:

Greg Floyd

Comments [23]

Steve from Westchester

My comments are applicable to NYSTRS only. 10 years ago employer contributions were less than 1%. Had employer contributions remained at the same level employees contributed (3%) where would we be now?
89% of pension benefits are paid out of the earnings of the fund.

Jun. 16 2011 12:34 PM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

We've got all the usual anti-union, anti-worker, anti-middle/working class, anti-wealth types out here on the board (yes, if you are _against_ both public (and private) sector workers, you are pro-elitist who desires the concentration of wealth in the few).

The only thing that matters for these people are taxes, tax revenues paid by the wealthy, tax rates, without acknowledging all the benefits that have been provided to them and others over the history of the most complex - especially in terms of the large size of the diverse population served - and well-developed democracy in the history of the world. And faced with ever-increasing realities of a more complex society, govt. and economy, these people don't want efficiency, but fantasy-land simplicity of a times past when time has passed them by.

For instance, people like vitriolic _gary_ dwell on exemptions for some union workers without acknowledging that small businesses (sorry "job creators") - the supposed salt of the Tea Party earth - get exemptions, too. Very narrow and tending towards disinformation

Jun. 13 2011 11:06 AM
desdemona finch from Brooklyn

New York State lost 40,000 government jobs from April 2010 to April 2011. How can anyone say government is getting bigger? It's not.

http://www.labor.ny.gov/stats/pressreleases/pruistat.shtm

Jun. 13 2011 10:57 AM
Marcus from NYC

I LOVE this guy. And for all those who hate that union members have a pension and you don't... stop your sour grapes, race to the bottom, you have what I don't so you can't either attitude. Pathetic. Especially when most union employees make very little in wages compared to private sector jobs.. with the knowledge that they will be given back those deferred wages upon retirement.

Jun. 13 2011 10:52 AM
Lars from Brooklyn

I myself am a member of 3 unions (theatrical), but this Teamster's lawyer is the wrong guest to have--he's got to guard his interests and therefore can't give an inch. Although I agree that this country gives too much slack to the wealthy, the idea that municipal unions have had no influence on the unsustainable model of civil service pensions is bull.

Jun. 13 2011 10:47 AM
Martha from Brooklyn

The speaker's comments are important. It is not just the union benefits that have led to increased costs. The Pataki and Giuliani pension restarts that allowed lower contributions, market downturn, etc. The dialogue needs to recognize all pieces of why pension costs have increased. No matter what, employees should be required to contribute for the life of their employment. That's not true of all employees.

Jun. 13 2011 10:47 AM
Brian from Hoboken

Shared sacrifice- doesn't this gentleman realize that almost 40% of Americans pay no income tax? That the top percentage of wage earners pays the lions share of taxes?
The caller re: bureaucracy in education hit the nail on the head. Everyone loves their kid's teacher Mrs Jones but the Asst Superintendants who pull in $250k are the real drain.

Jun. 13 2011 10:47 AM
gary from queens

Talk about what the people won't "tolerate", consider that government requires the revenue (through taxes) from 5 job holders in the private sector to finance the wages and benefits and retirement plans of ONE public sector job holder.

That is why we're heading for insolvency: Government jobs outnumber private sector manufacturing jobs, according to Stephen Moore at WSJ

Jun. 13 2011 10:46 AM
Jon in Brooklyn from brooklyn, ny

A caller just spoke about how 30 years in is what is required for teachers to retire with their pension and how that is fair. 30 years is no longer fair. People now work for 40-45 years. Teachers should be required to reach that threshold for their complete pension

Jun. 13 2011 10:46 AM

brian
what if overtime is forced?
what if the city is using overtime so they don't have to hire new cops?

Jun. 13 2011 10:44 AM
ml from inwood

Yeah Brian, the "millionaires tax" is the biggest answer to our fiscal problems. Not only would we have more tax money from these folks, the incentive to keep most of your money invested in your company would be greater. If I had millions of dollars I wouldn't be creating more jobs unless I needed more workers. If all the money I took out of my business was being taxed at 90%, I'd probably be using that money to grow my business instead of my investments. Lay off the teachers. You all can read this because of teachers.

Jun. 13 2011 10:44 AM
Wanda from Brooklyn

Ps. this millionaires tax canard is tired. the "millionaires" pay far more taxes for this state than anyone as we've found during the downturn... do we need to chase them out of the state to pad public employee perks? I am no millionaire, but I say NO... put a stake in the ground now and get reforms.

Jun. 13 2011 10:44 AM

attacking the unions is just part of the greater war on the middle class

Jun. 13 2011 10:43 AM
judy from NYC

So the solution to the poor benefits people make in the private sector is to destroy the benefits enjoyed by public sector workers?

Jun. 13 2011 10:42 AM
Wanda from Brooklyn

The leadership of public employee unions are all the same, as this guest demonstrates. They are a complete turn off to the tax paying public. Let;s get real here. There is a feedback loop between public unions and the leadership in government. The taxpayers are very tired of it. No one forces anyone to work for the government. Why are public perks protected by the constitution of the state? Why can changes be made to current employees? Eventually there will be a reset, whether ths unions want to be a part of it or not... you cannot bleed a stone.

Jun. 13 2011 10:42 AM
sp from NYC

Maybe the state and local governments are just overstaffed.

Jun. 13 2011 10:42 AM
Wanda from Brooklyn

Ps. this millionaires tax canard is tired. the "millionaires" pay far more taxes for this state than anyone as we've found during the downturn... do we need to chase them out of the state to pad public employee perks? I am no millionaire, but I say NO... put a stake in the ground now and get reforms.

Jun. 13 2011 10:42 AM
lesterine from manhattan

i'll take any job with all the cuts to salary that are offered. i'd be so grateful just to have a job with a salary and any kind of health benefits. i am self-employed and it is much much more to live the way i am now compared to these union workers. how about a bit of gratitude for having a job with benefits?

Jun. 13 2011 10:39 AM
John from NYC

Am I the only one who feels total disgust listening to this guy?

Jun. 13 2011 10:39 AM
gary from queens

Another example is to reward unions who supported Obama's campaign. For example, under Obamacare, working stiffs who do not belong to labor unions will be paying for the healthcare of union members. It's written right there in the bill that was enacted (HR 3200), on page 65, section 164. Union members, union retirees and community organizations (such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now - ACORN) are eligible for coverage, but exempt from having to pay for it. That is what happens when you use government to help the "downtrodden." Because what actually happens is that groups and people with power and influence are the ones who obtain that which was intended for the downtrodden.

Jun. 13 2011 10:35 AM
gary from queens

To no one's surprise----other than those who believed Obama was the second coming of Christ----Obama directed his Secretary of HHS in January (strategically following the November 2009 elections) to grant a specific waiver to union health insurance plans that will allow them to limit how much they will spend on a policy holder's medical coverage for a given year. And not even to all unions. It was specifically given solely to 3 local chapters of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), whose political action committee spent $27 million supporting Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. One of these 3 Locals (Local 25) is in Obama's hometown of Chicago. Daniel Stern, former President of the Union, was Obama's most frequent guest at the White House in 2009. Obama also got rid of a Bush-administration rule that unions file disclosure statements on how they spend their members’ money. This despite the scandal reported in the Los Angeles Times involving the head of a Service Employees International Union local misallocating hundreds of thousands of dollars of members’ money.
Source: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/seiu-locals-including-chicago-chapter-wa

Jun. 13 2011 10:35 AM
gary from queens

Once public employee unions won the right to collective barginning, this story was inevitable:
"10 former San Diego city employees will split $61 million in pensions" - October 4th, 2010
http://www.californiapensionreform.com/2010/10/10-former-san-diego-city-employees-will-split-61-million-dollars-in-pensions/
Why? Because public employee unions do not share the same interests as the general public. These unions want government to grow, so their numbers will grow. That leads to greater political clout to obtain greater wages, benefits, and special favors----from government policymakers. That's why Democrats and public employee unions share the same interest----more government in our lives. That's why these unions pay for political ads that support bond issues and other taxes when they appear on public referendums. Some of that money ends up in the pockets of these employees.

Jun. 13 2011 10:33 AM
LJ from NY

I am pro-union, but for those of us with no pensions and severly depleted 401(k)s, these proposals seem like Nirvana. I will be 65 in July and cannot even consider retiring (probably ever), but somehow I am expected to provide a golden parachute for public empolyees. These unions need a reality check.

Jun. 13 2011 10:22 AM

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