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Saturday, October 6, 2012
A Rhode Island Teacher’s Story about Her Pension
I just saw your message concerning pensions on Diane's blog. I am a retired Special Ed teacher from Rhode Island. The school year I retired (2006-2007) I went to the retirement board and sat down with one of their retirement counselors. We came up with (what I call) a contract. I knew what I would be getting every month, and I knew what my COLA would be (at the time it was 3% compounded). I took a special option that existed at the time called the Social Security leveling-out option, otherwise known as SRA, but the name is deceiving. It has nothing to do with Social Security. It is an extra amount of money that supplements the pension you get monthly but, when you turn 62, you have to pay it all back. After this was discussed, I signed it; they signed it, and life was good.
Until two years ago, when a woman named Gina Raimondo came along. She had a 10-year-Point Judith Investment business in NY for 10 years. For whatever reason, she decided to come back to her roots in RI and run for Treasurer. When she came back from NY, she used “Disaster Capitalism” to not only win her election, but she cooked the books and used scare tactics that included saying RI's pension fund would go broke due to its unfunded liability.
She ran as a Democrat, but her support came from corporate reformers, the Republican Party and, most important, organizations that were formed to bust unions because they were jealous of our pensions. They wanted to eliminate them by saying the taxpayers can no longer afford them.
(Forgetting teachers and unions are also taxpayers), she won the election. And her pension bill with the help of the crooked RI General Assembly passed. Teachers have to work longer now; they lost their pensions to new 401k funds, and she stopped all COLAs (for all unions including the judges) for 5 years...
For me, that affects the option called SRA that I have since it was based on numbers long before Ms. Raimondo ever set her body in RI. We filed LAWSUITS in June 2012. Her pension bill went into effect in July, 2012. Our lawsuits were brought forth by unions, not by class-action suits that would have taken more money and another two more years. We, retirees, have our own lawsuit. Working teachers have another. We have different goals. My goal is to receive my COLA. Working teachers have a hell of a lot more to get back. And now this Bi… wants to run for governor in 2014!
We are very angry and upset in RI; we want the courts to revoke this pension bill. We had a contract; she, with the RI General Assembly, broke the contract when they passed the new law. I am on the AFT-R board and am reminding all teachers to REMEMBER LAST NOVEMBER and vote out all the lawmakers who voted “yes” to the changes. They need to be thrown out of office. They threw teachers – both working and retired – under the bus...
I thought I read somewhere that Gina Raimondo went to Chicago. If she did, she is bad news! Tell Karen Lewis, who I have great respect for, to stay away from Raimondo and to keep Raimondo away from your despicable Rahm Emanuel who is pure evil. You seem to have the Chicago mob crew down there destroying public education: Obama, who thinks Race to the Top is not a top-down application (Obama is quite the liar) and Rahm Emanuel, who I was glad to see Karen Lewis wiped the floor with. She is my hero. I sent blogs about the Chicago strike to my teachers every day. I was glad the courts did not get involved. I hope this helps.
Jo Ann /RI teacher -AFT-R
Raimondo did come to Chicago last April. Here is a commentary: http://teacherpoetmusicianglenbrown.blogspot.com/2012/04/foreshadowing-of-illinois-pension.html