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Dark Deal Includes Outrageous Political Boondoggle

March 23, 2012
By Danny Donohue

Under the cover of darkness, Gov. Cuomo, state Senators and Assembly members put their self-interest ahead of people as they approved a modified Tier 6 pension plan. But in the light of day it’s now clear they also inserted a boondoggle provision that amounts to an outrageous giveaway of taxpayer dollars to themselves and their highly paid political cronies.

Legislators and political appointees being paid more than $75,000 annually are  all in line to cash in for thousands of  dollars every year! The expanded 401(k) style program lavishes an extra eight percent of salary, over and above their lucrative pay -  literally thousands of dollars – into their individual investment funds. This after Cuomo and lawmakers claimed that New York can’t afford decent pensions for low and middle income frontline public workers any more.

Making it even worse, frontline workers now need ten years of service to vest in their modest pension program. But the politically favored few can literally take the money and run after just one year of service – so it’s like getting a cash bonus windfall they didn’t earn.

So while the governor and his supporters were demonizing nurses, school bus drivers, secretaries, and laborers and misrepresenting the facts about their modest pensions, they were also secretly hatching a scheme to fatten up the political dole.

CSEA is mounting a campaign to fix this boondoggle.  We hope the public will be as outraged by this deception and self-serving nonsense as we are.  We’re urging our members and their family and friends to contact their lawmakers and tell them to fix it now.

But there’s more to be done. CSEA has taken the unprecedented step of  suspending our state political endorsements and contributions.  We will use this opportunity to re-evaluate our political relationships and make judgments about the criteria we use in determining who has earned and deserves our support.

CSEA will also use this time to consult with our brother and sister unions and other allied community organizations about how we can collectively address the disrespect and disenfranchisement of working people by our state’s elected officials.

We will no longer accept politics as usual from the Governor and lawmakers.

Danny Donohue is president of the nearly 300,000 member CSEA – New York’s leading union – representing every kind of worker in every part of New York.

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