New Yorkers Say ‘Tier It Down’ to Tier 6 Retirement Plan
New York public service workers protest proposed cuts and changes to their pension plan last weekend at Zuccotti Park.
Hundreds of New York’s finest – first responders, law enforcement personnel, nurses and teaching assistants – rallied with supporters last weekend in lower Manhattan to tell Gov. Andrew Cuomo that their retirement security should not be undermined to make up for the excesses of Wall Street.
“The Wall Street firms that defrauded our pension funds in the first place, and brought on this terrible recession – they are the ones who ought to pay,” said New York City Department of Social Services clerical worker Carmen Flores. “That’s why it’s so appropriate to be here in Zuccotti Park today.”
At issue is the governor’s proposed 40 percent cut to new public service workers’ pensions, called Tier 6. It also would push new employees toward 401(k) style, self-directed retirement plans that offer no guarantee of returns at the time of retirement.
At the rally, appropriately called “Tier It Down,” social worker Heather Edmonson said, “People are hurting all over the country. We’re hurting too. But punishing the people who provide the public with front-line services isn’t the answer.”
Also addressing the crowd was Rabbi Michael Feinberg, executive director of the Greater New York Labor Religion Coalition. “Tier 6 is both unnecessary and morally suspect,” he said. “Our society is rapidly losing its moral balance as we demand no sacrifices from those who are wealthy, but make repeated demands for sacrifices from working men and women.”
A coalition of AFSCME’s New York affiliates also is conducting a TV ad campaign against the Tier 6 proposal. For more, read this message from DC 37 Executive Director and AFSCME IVP Lillian Roberts.