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Monday, December 10, 2018

June Updates

Posted by Lou on June 3, 2016

Brothers and sisters, here are some updates and items of note:

Stay tuned for all the details of the Summer Outing!

Pension links

Posted by Lou on May 5, 2016

Brothers and Sisters,

There have been a bunch of links to articles about pensions be sent around among our membership lately, so it makes sense to post them here.

It looks like one of the nation’s largest pension funds could be cutting benefits for retirees. The part of this article that really hit home with me was:

For many workers, the promise of a [pension] — a benefit now nearly extinct for younger generations — was at times strong enough to convince them to sacrifice pay raises or other job opportunities.

Locally, Ted Siedle takes the Governor to task regarding investment returns from her former employer’s hedge fund, Point Judith Capital in a recent article on Forbes.com. And GoLocalProv.com posts a brief article talking about how the pension fund lost money by investing with Point Judith Capital, while the Governor continues to earn her share of management fees paid to the fund.

How does this make you feel? What should union members be doing to combat these issues? Let us know in the comments below.

Thanks!

“Rhode Island Has Lost $372 Million As State Shifted Pension Cash to Wall Street”

Posted by Lou on August 29, 2014

An article in the International Business Times take Raimondo to task for her hedge fund investment strategy of paying back her Wall Street cronies. When investing in hedge funds, not only do you have to hope the fund matches the rest of the market’s returns, but surpass them to account for the exorbitant fees the hedge fund managers charge. Since the State will not release the contract details to the public so we can learn what we are being charged for the hedge fund management, we have no idea what the true cost to our pension system is. This combination of underperformance and extra fees impacts the fund, reducing the funds available and increasing the taxpayer burden at the same time.

Please read the full article here: http://www.ibtimes.com/rhode-island-has-lost-372-million-state-shifted-pension-cash-wall-street-1671790

Raimondo protects her Wall Street associates

Posted by Lou on July 30, 2014

In news that should surprise exactly nobody, Treasurer Raimondo will not release the details of the management contracts for those who invest our pension money. Her reason? If the public learns precisely how much Rhode Island’s Wall Street managers are earning, that might make those executives feel uncomfortable. Boo-freakin’-hoo!

Read the full article from the International Business Times here.

The Forbes-Pension story continues…again…

Posted by Lou on April 17, 2013

Check out the latest from Ted Siedle on Forbes.com: Rhode Island Pensioners 3% COLA Will Go To Pay Wall Street 4%+ Fees.

I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ll hear of these issues, so stay tuned!

Sharing worker info, but concealing pension info…

Posted by Lou on April 16, 2013

You should have a received a memorandum from Richard Licht, Director of Administration, with last week’s pay check. It described an upcoming initiative which will list state worker names and compensation as part of a transparency effort. Local 2881 leadership was very disappointed that personally identifiable information would be listed along with compensation data. We have asked Council 94 to look into this situation, and they have committed to research the initiative.

While we understand the need for transparency in state government, I, personally, do not think that names should be published with compensation information. Titles and Department information would be more than sufficient. Some of our brothers and sisters suggested that other public expenditures be included in the transparency initiative. Information such as public assistance (welfare, SNAP, workers’ compensation, and unemployment benefits) recipients’ compensation, business tax credits/exemptions/benefits, government contractor expenditures, employers and salaries of state representatives and senators, and of course details as to the management costs and investment details of our pension fund.

But Treasurer Raimondo is doing her best to make pension fund information as difficult as possible to get from her office. See this article in GoLocalProv.com describing the latest method to keep public records away from AFSCME in their efforts to fight on our behalf.

As always, we will keep you posted with the latest news and information regarding these issues, and all labor issues that affect our union brothers and sisters, as we have it.

“Wall Street Feeding Frenzy”

Posted by Lou on April 5, 2013

By now most of you have read the article in Forbes magazine regarding the Rhode Island pension system investments. But before I delve into that issue, there are congratulations in order for two of our members!

1) Please congratulate brother Paul Kulpa when you see him, as he has been appointed Local 2881 secretary after Leslie Gerundio’s resignation. His replacement on the executive board will be forthcoming soon.

2) Sister Gina Friedman’s daughter, Alyssa, was one of only 10 recipients of the 2013 AFSCME Family Scholarship nationwide! Congratulations to Alyssa on winning this scholarship of $2000 for four years which AFSCME awards to graduating seniors of AFSCME members in good standing accepted to an accredited college or university. I have requested a quote from the Friedmans to tell us a little about Alyssa and her plans.

Now, on to the main event. On Forbes.com yesterday, there was an article entitled “Rhode Island Public Pension ‘Reform’ Looks More Like Wall Street Feeding Frenzy”. Please read it if you have not yet had the chance to.

The following statement was released today by Council 94 President, J. Michael Downey:

Hello All-
Many of you have been responding to this Forbes article with many ideas, suggestions, etc. Please be advised that Council 94 has reached out to the ProJo and other news organizations. GoLocalProv has already picked up the story. See the story here:
http://www.golocalprov.com/news/forbes-magazine-blasts-raimondo-reform-looks-more-like-wall-street-feeding-/

We will also be contacting the Governor and other officials with regards to some of the accusations in the article and ask the Governor to investigate the matter further. Also, AFSCME International is assisting us in our investigation into some of the issues raised by the Forbes article.

We encourage you and your members to contact your senators and representatives about this article and ask them to inquire further about how the pension fund is managed.

In Solidarity,

J. Michael Downey
Ken DeLorenzo

As always, if you need help contacting your representatives at the State House please contact anyone on the Executive Board, and we will be happy to assist you. If you need to know who your representatives are, visit the RI Voter Information Center and enter your address.

Thanks and keep fighting with us!