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Monday, December 10, 2018

Pledges, Pensions and a Budget Meeting

Posted by Lou on January 11, 2016

Brothers and sisters,

We pledged $3000 to fund Ted Siedle’s most recent Kickstarter effort. Unfortunately, the investigation was was not fully funded, and therefore we will not be contributing the pledged funds. However, there has been some publicity about pension funds recently: http://www.ibtimes.com/wall-street-fine-print-retirees-want-fbi-probe-pension-investment-deals-2250476. It is my understanding that the group behind this change.org petition is going to be submitting their letter to the SEC soon also.

So, hope is not lost. There are people still fighting.

Today, the fight is continuing on multiple fronts. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. There has been lots and lots of coverage, but the best (and most technical) is from SCOTUSblog. There’s a ton of links to other sources on SCOTUSblog, here.

Finally, our next general membership meeting will be Wednesday, January 20, at 4:20pm in the 3rd floor cafeteria of 235 Promenade Street. The main topic for discussion will be the 2016 Local 2881 budget. See you there.

Change.org petition

Posted by Lou on August 2, 2015

Brothers and sisters,

Please take a moment to read and sign the Change.org petition to prod the SEC to investigate the investments in our pension fund the link is:

https://www.change.org/p/u-s-securities-and-exchange-commission-investigate-potential-violations-of-the-rhode-island-8-billion-state-pension-fund

Please share this link with your family and friends, too. This issue should be of concern to all Rhode Island taxpayers.

Thanks!

Interesting articles related to pension funds

Posted by Lou on June 28, 2015

There have been some interesting articles regarding pension funds over the last few weeks. Take a look and tell us what you think in the comments below! Or better yet, share some of your favorite articles with your union brothers and sisters!

International Business Times: For Rhode Island Taxpayers, Alternative Investments Have High Cost

Wall Street Journal: Rhode Island’s $2 Billion in ‘Preventable Losses’ in Alternative Assets

New York Times: When Private Investment Firms Give Retirees the Short End

Go Local Prov: INVESTIGATION: Investment Firms Not Sharing Vendor Discounts with RI Pension Fund

Don’t forget to read the investigation into our pension fund performed by Benchmark Financial Services and submit a complaint to the SEC requesting an investigation into potential violations.

Ted Siedle’s pension fund investigation

Posted by Lou on June 7, 2015

Brother’s and sisters,

Ted Siedle’s investigation into the Rhode Island State Employees’ pension fund has been completed and published. Please take the time to read the document and send it to other interested parties, as well as you state Senator and Representative.

Thanks,
Local 2881 Executive Board

Pension legislative hearing

Posted by Lou on June 1, 2015

Brothers and Sisters,

You may have heard that the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on proposed pension settlement legislation yesterday. I think we were just as blindsided by that as you were. But we now know that there will be a House Finance Committee hearing on the same topic on Wednesday afternoon (the Rise of the House is generally 4pm or sometime soon thereafter). If you would like to go and give testimony regarding your opinions and any pertinent facts related to the pension, please do so. The hearing announcement is: http://status.rilin.state.ri.us/documents/agenda-11301.aspx.

Thanks!
Local 2881 Executive Board.

Pension Fund Investigation

Posted by Lou on April 29, 2015

Brothers and Sisters,

Today is the last day to donate to Ted Siedle’s crowdfunding of an investigation into the pension fund. Although it has just reached fully funded, Kickstarter takes 10% of the total amount raised. I’ve spent significant time talking to Mr. Siedle over the last 2 days, and he seems like a good and decent person who really wants to help Rhode Islanders get to the bottom of why there are such significant issues with our pension fund. So please, if you are able, donate whatever you can afford to this investigation before 5pm today!

Thanks!

A new investigation of the pension fund

Posted by Lou on April 10, 2015

Brothers and Sisters,

As you may have heard, Ted Siedle has created a crowd funding campaign to raise funds to investigate the state employees’ pension fund. If Mr. Siedle’s effort raises $20,000 before April 29, he will conduct a follow up to his previous forensic investigation, funded by Council 94.

When I inquired about the focus of the investigation with Mr. Siedle, he stated the following:

This investigation will be based upon the most current information and focus upon hidden and excessive investment fees; the cost of any investment underperformance; conflicts of interest and wrongdoing. It will be a follow-up on the prior investigation, updating on past issues but we will also examine any new issues which arise. As before, there will likely be some discussion of actuarial issues and assumptions.

Now is your chance to have a direct impact in proving that is the mismanagement of the pension fund that led us to the underfunded condition it is in. It certainly isn’t our fault, because I know that we’ve contributed 8.75% of our pay everyday, without fail. Meanwhile, partners of past treasurers and hedge fund managers get rich off the excessive fees being paid with our money. Visit the Kickstarter page and donate whatever amount you are able towards getting the answers we deserve.

Thanks
Lou

Ever wonder why the pension system is underfunded?

Posted by Lou on March 26, 2015

I know I wonder why the pension system is underfunded. Sometimes, it’s because the fees being paid to the Governor’s former investment firm is being paid the highest fees of any other hedge fund manager in the state. Sometimes it’s because the Governor doesn’t want to deposit the surplus that she is legally required to. “Legally?” you say? Yes, it was a law she endorsed as treasurer, in an effort to increase the funding ratio as soon as possible.

I know one reason why it isn’t underfunded: state workers have paid their required percentage from every paycheck they have ever earned. Make sure you let your state representatives and senators know that fact when they try to steal from us again.