2012 News Releases
March 6, 2012
AFSCME Media Contact: Arthur Silverman
DC 37: Zita Allen, Communications
Nearly 2,000 public service workers in Albany oppose 40% pension cuts & corporate tax loopholes
Albany, NY — On Tuesday, March 6, nearly 2,000 first responders, law enforcement personnel, nurses, teaching assistants and other public service employees attended New York AFSCME’s annual Albany Lobby Day.
The assembled workers heard from New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous, then fanned out across the Capitol for meetings with all 150 State Assembly members and 62 State Senators.
The focus of this year’s Lobby Day was on closing corporate tax loopholes and defeating Tier 6, Governor Cuomo’s proposed 40% cut in public service worker’s pensions.
“We came to Albany to remind our legislators that we provide vital services to the state of New York,” said Mike Martin, a heavy equipment operator from Buffalo, NY of Council 35. “We are committed to fighting for better services for all New Yorkers.”
“Governor Cuomo’s Tier 6 proposal hurts New Yorkers,” said Carmen Flores, a clerical associate from the New York City Department of Social Services represented by District Council 37. “Rather than holding the big Wall Street banks accountable for past abuses, this plan rewards them by taking money out of the hands of hard-working New Yorkers.”
In fact, under the Governor’s plan the same Wall Street firms that defrauded pension funds in the first place, and drove the U.S. economy into the ground, would be rewarded with billions of dollars in new pension fees. The financial services industry is one of the principal backers of the Tier 6 proposal.
“Tier 6 forces hard-working New Yorkers to work longer and pay more for their benefits with less retirement security,” said Dowell Harrell, communications specialist, NY State Police of CSEA Local 1000. “We’re disappointed that the Governor and legislature would proceed with this misguided policy.”
“The existing loopholes allow Wall Street to escape paying its fair share,” said Li Jung Chan, an assistant teacher from New York City, represented by AFSCME DC 1707. “To move this state forward, we need sacrifice from all New Yorkers, including the wealthiest. Let’s work together to make choices we all can be proud of.”
“The average pension of a New York state employee is only $19,000 a year,” said AFSCME Council 66 member Mike Dempsey of the highway division in Broome County. “To earn this benefit, we dedicate our lives to making this state a better place for its citizens, as well as paying into the retirement system on time, every time.”
The state’s public service employees already helped the state achieve $35 billion in savings in the Tier 5 legislation. Last year, public service workers reached agreement with the Cuomo administration to address the state's fiscal challenges.
“I spent 33 years behind bars, surviving two prison riots,” said retired corrections lieutenant Gary Tavormina, AFSCME Retirees Chapter 82 president. “When I went to work, we knew you were going to be paid less, but we also knew that there would be a decent and guaranteed pension at the end.”
AFSCME New York represents 420,000 public services workers across the state, made up of members from
CSEA Local 1000, DC 37, DC 1707, Council 35, Council 66, and Council 82.