Posted by Lou on March 30, 2016
Brothers and Sisters,
Council 94 has made the Giovanni Folcarelli Scholarship application packet available on their website. You can get a copy via the link above. If you would like a hard copy mailed to you, please contact Susan Petersen at Council 94 Headquarters at 724-5900.
Posted by Lou on March 8, 2016
More bad news about our pension fund: GoLocalProv.com is reporting that the state employees’ pension fund has not grown under Raimondo or Magaziner.
There are multiple reasons for this, but it basically comes down to a combination of two factors.
1) Negative cash flow – Due to the age of the system and previous generosity to people who weren’t contributing and/or early retirements, the fund pays out more in benefits than it receives in active employee contributions.
2) Underperforming investments – The pension fund return on investment over the last five years has been 9.77%, but the S&P 500 (an index of 500 large corporations considered the best respresentation of the stock market as a whole) has increased 14.1%. Ted Siedle will be specifically investigating the real estate portion of the pension fund investments in an upcoming investigation.
Posted by Lou on January 21, 2016
Thanks to all who came to January’s meeting and helped pass the budget!
In fact, thanks to all of you who make the time to participate in our union, whether that be by coming to meetings and outings, by talking to co-workers and the executive board members about the issues that affect us all, or participating in the political process of contacting your elected officials on behalf of labor. It is well understood that we are all busy in this day and age, but making the effort to participate really means a lot and shows that you are committed to fight for the rights and benefits that workers deserve. If you do not participate (beyond reading this), please take a second to tell us in the comments below what Local 2881 can be doing better to earn your time. The executive board always welcomes your ideas and opportunities to work together to make a difference.
Following up on the discussion of the Friedrichs v. CTA case that is before the Supreme Court, here are some links to learn more:
Here is the link to our 2013-2017 memorandum of settlement and contract:
Finally, the Economic Policy Institute was mentioned yesterday, also. There are a great resource for working people like us. The publication mentioned during the meeting was about Right To Work states having lower wages. You can find that article at http://www.epi.org/publication/right-to-work-states-have-lower-wages/.
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.
Posted by Lou on September 21, 2015
Brothers and Sisters,
If you haven’t heard about the the largest attack on public sector unions, now is the time to educate yourself. Friedrichs vs. the California Teachers’ Association is being heard by the Supreme Court, and outcome will directly affect the future of unions as we know it. That is not hyperbole, but honest fact. Council 94 sent out the following message recently:
Wealthy/Corporate special interest groups are determined to destroy labor unions. The United States Supreme Court will soon hear a case that could threaten your contract and union. Please click here to read a great summary of Friedrichs v. CTA.
To prepare for the upcoming fight-
1. Sign up for the AFSCME Strong program by talking to your local union president, steward, or executive board member.
2. Follow Council 94 on twitter @ric94AFSCME
3. Receive text alerts on important issues. Text RI to 237263.
I will keep you up to date as developments occur.
Thanks for your continued activism and support.
J. Michael Downey
Please take a second to read the article. We will be bringing more information to the membership in the near future.
Local 2881 Executive Board
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.
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.
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.