Gonna Cry ... Six Tiers

Elected officials should be more concerned about you and all their constituents than about those who lead unions, political parties or legislatures.

When it comes to New York State’s public sector unions, everybody lies: the governor, the unions, the legislature, the media. They lie because it works. It works because residents of New York cannot accept government is not only at economic war with you, but you are held in contempt because you vote party line no matter what. Governor Cuomo successfully pushed for a new "" pension plan that just passed and requires higher retirement age and larger health and pension contributions, but applies only to new hires, not current union members. The lie is his claiming this will save the state $113 billion over 30 years. Like all budgets, this year's budget only affects this year's money. Nothing in the future is carved in stone and can change at the whim of future governors and legislatures. This is what happened to Tiers II though V. 

As every election season arrives, the legislature and governors pad tiers to get union support and then stick you with the tab. This will repeat with "Tier VI" in the future if history is any guide: There will be no actual savings.

Another lie is perpetrated by public unions’ leadership in their advertising. They claim current hires are affected. Not true! Only future hires and even that is not a certainty. Those ads are not only lying to you but, adding insult to injury, it’s your money paying for them.

[Read on by clicking here]


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Anthony J. Bazzo March 20, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Bring it on, but please kepp comments on point. Bazzo 03/20/12
Anthony J. Bazzo March 20, 2012 at 06:24 PM
He Is Right Even Though He Did Not Vote For This: Why We Need Steve Katz:The following is a statement by Steve Katz, candidate for NY Senate (40th District) concerning his Assembly vote against the Tier VI Pension Plan. http://ltpbazzo.com/2012/03/20/why-we-need-steve-katzthe-following-is-a-statement-by-steve-katz-candidate-for-ny-senate-40th-district-concerning-his-assembly-vote-against-the-tier-vi-pension-plan/ Bazzo 03/20/12
jeff meyer March 20, 2012 at 07:04 PM
I have not seen one pro labor advertisement stating that Tier VI effects current workers. I beg to differ with your statement as to whether it if factual or a mirage in your imagination. Also, I was completely against Tier VI. I did petition my legislators stating so even though it has no bearing on my personal pension. That is because I philosophically in my core believe in organized labor. Please....Mr. Bazzo don't speak for organized labor by stating current unionized employees do not care about Tier VI since it doesn't effect us. You are entitled to your opinions but please remember you speak only for your self. For you to speak for unionized workers is absurd. It would be like me speaking on behalf of the Heritage Foundation. Jeff Meyer Tuckahoe, NY
John Q. Public March 20, 2012 at 09:13 PM
I think the headline is missing the words "crocodile tears." Contract law is sacrosanct in America. The solution is to oust weak-willed politicians who betray taxpayers with weak negotiating skills. If a union can negotiate victories, you have to look to the other negotiating party. Cuomo has essentially said, My way or the highway. He'll listen for a little, then impose his uncompromising will. He gets away with it because he's a Democrat and the left leaning Dems have no backbone. The only political question is, will union stalwarts still pull the lever for Dems who betray their cause? And the answer to that question holds the seeds of self-destruction.
Bob Ogden March 20, 2012 at 10:45 PM
I don't agree that unions are trying to say that this affects their current employees but I think you have to look at things from the union perspective. If you are in charge of a union, you are in a political position and holding an elected position. The one thing you want is to solidify the union, and splitting it by having two different classes or "tiers" of members is divisive to the bargaining process and detrimental to your political survival. I for one don't think that Tier VI is that much different from Tier V but people want to believe in equality and five years from today when you have two people working side by side doing the same job with different benefits they will spawn a movement to make all workers holding that position equal again and depending on the political climate then, they may succeed. Hey, that's what unions do. .
Pat March 21, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Not sure what your experience with unions is but civil servants have been working next to coworkers with different tiers, benefits, pay grades, retirement packages, etc, etc, since the beginning. It's called selling out the unborn to get the best deal for the current membership. Unions could care less about equality as long as they get their dues automatically taken out of their members paycheck.
McKey Rivers March 21, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Mr. Bazzo, it is difficult not to be fooled by the spin machines operating on multiple levels when it comes to public employee benefits, particularly pensions. Keep in mind that there really are four pension systems for so called civilian employees (there are few if any employees left in Tiers I and II). And, large groups of public employees are in just two pension tiers: police officers and firefighters. There has been no new pension tiers for police officers and firefighters since the mid 1970s, and these two can be described as super rich and rich. There are writers in here much better informed than I (since they directly benefit from a police/fire pension), but suffice to say the employer contribution rate for their pensions is in the mid 20%s. Better still police officers and their families receive Cadillac health insurance benefits for life, and pay nothing for this benefit, not even for the Medicare Part B payment that everyone else in America pays. Obviously, when you have it so good, it is very hard to give up these luxuries.
Peter Tripodi March 21, 2012 at 03:29 AM
jeff meyer March 21, 2012 at 03:46 AM
Public employees were not in favor of a Tier VI. Especially in light of the fact that Tier V was only enacted a couple of years ago and the result of that legislation is not known. A important victory that public employees did achieve is that the 401-K provision is only a option. If I was still the union president on the job I retired from I would urge all rookies to stay away from the 401-K and stick with the defined pension benefit. All public employees already have the option of joining the NYS Deferred Compensation Plan which is an IRS 457-B. It essentially achieves the same benefit as a 401-K and it is tax deferred. I enrolled in said plan as a rookie and it is a great benefit to support ones defined pension plan. Public employees must continue to keep the DPB as is. It is too valuable an asset just to capitulate on. Jeff Meyer Tuckahoe, NY
jeff meyer March 21, 2012 at 03:50 AM
I will not read your youtube link. I have no interest in it regardless of its message. If you can't speak for yourself then stay out of the debate. Jeff Meyer Tuckahoe, NY
Anthony J. Bazzo March 21, 2012 at 04:26 AM
1) try listening to radio ad w/Seabrook 2)only reported what the polls stated, I even said as much in column Bazzo 03/21/12
John Q. Public March 21, 2012 at 02:15 PM
"It is too valuable an asset just to capitulate on" -- paid for by taxpayers who will have to work until they are 90 to support public employees who win the lottery when they get a job. The Deferred Compensation Plan is what allows employees to stay on the public payroll for years after their leave service at their highest pay, despite the fact that they earned many of the hours when they were at lower rates of pay. Most people who work in the real world who have 401-ks do NOT have such a benefit, Jeff. We work 60-80 hour weeks for a flat rate, and when it rains or snows we don't get hazard pay like you union boys.
jeff meyer March 21, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Yes John Q. I speak clearly without using riddles. You chose your path in the private sector, did you not? It was your decision, yes or no? Are you begrudging public employees for having the option of enrolling in the NYS Deferred Compensation Plan? It hard for me to figure out what your point is. Is a public pension illegal? Is a IRS 457-B plan illegal? With all due respect, if your point is that you wish to eradicate and abolish unions then we will agree to disagree. Maybe if you were in a union you wouldn't be working 60-80 hour weeks. Food for thought. Jeff Meyer Tuckahoe, NY
John Q. Public March 21, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Public employee unions are legalized theft, Jeff. Fully paid for by people who don't share the benefits. The system is corrupt. I don't begrudge you getting what your union leadership strongarmed from taxpayers on your behalf. My beef is with elected officials who think it's right to steal from one class of citizens and give it to another. Our current system is unsustainable, which I think even current union leadership accepts as brutal reality. Change is a coming. We will not allow the USA to go the way of Greece.
Bob Ogden March 21, 2012 at 06:43 PM
JQP, Unions are supported by the union membership who pay dues. I've never heard of a union getting federal or state funds so your argument starts off on the wrong premise. If your argumment is that the salary that the dues are deducted from are at the cost of the government, you're right but using that argument makes no sense because you could say that if a civil servant bought a house with money he earned working, that the house was fully paid for by the government. By the way, you're forgetting one thing, the salary paid is in exchange for a service that is performed it is not a gift from the state. That is the capitalist system that we choose to live in with all it's benefits and faults. As to Greece, it's an apples and oranges comparison. The collapse of Greece had nothing to do with civil service unions and if they weren't part of the European Union would have gone unnoticed by most of us..
jeff meyer March 21, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Sorry JQP, any credible opinion you wish to impart is blown to pieces after your first sentence. Seriously, legalized theft? Rather extreme and absent of fact or reality. Jeff Meyer Tuckahoe, NY
Chris Clement March 21, 2012 at 08:17 PM
I was pro-union until a few years ago when I realized NY's so in far in debt and a lot of it is due to public employee unions. Meyer doesn't like John Q's words "legalized theft". Well how about us common folk being financially raped by public employee unions? Better words? I find it egregious that for 2 or 3 years before some union members retire they build up their over-time so their pensions will be higher. This is LEGALIZED THEFT and FINANCIAL RAPE no matter how I look at it.
jeff meyer March 21, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Chris Clement: Sure Chris. "Financially raped" is a lovely term. You should be proud of yourself for coining it. Maybe you should copyright your intellectual property. JM Tuckahoe, NY
Bob Ogden March 21, 2012 at 08:36 PM
What is wrong with you people. No matter what you think, the civil servants you so ademently hate were gainfully employed and did exactly what you would do. They sought to negotiate the best deal they could get. You all call yourselves captalists but when it doesn't go exactly your way you call it theft or rape or whatever. When was the last time you turned a raise down because you wanted to give it to someone else or save your employer money or donate it to the government?. Get real. If the system isn't working then change it but hating these people is just sick.
John Q. Public March 21, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Mr Odgen -- to call public employees "capitalists" is a stretch. Read Michael Lewis' "Boomerang" before you claim to know anything about Greece's public employees, who are as lazy and unjustly overpaid as American public workers. Your point is, we screwed everyone else so it's okay. My point is, so long as it's my taxes supporting people, there is no gravy train for the lazy. You and Jeff think you are entitled to a gravy train the rest of us pay for. It's that simple. Post till Sunday denouncing this basic fact. You have no moral ground on which to say you are entitled to a better living the than hard-working people who pay taxes to support you. Yes, you will say, but politicians said they would grant you this gratuitous benefit. My point exactly. They and you must be put out of office. Reality bites and we can't afford such largesse any longer.
jeff meyer March 22, 2012 at 12:08 AM
JQP, your hatred for public employees is distorting your reality. I am entitled to nothing. Please don't speak for me. I don't even know who you are since you chose the anonymous route. I am entitled to nothing. I have worked for everything I achieved. If being a police officer and riding the "GRAVY TRAIN" is so attractive to you then why did you not become a police officer. If your reality bites then look in the mirror and reevaluate the decisions you made in your life. You talk of "MORAL GROUND". What the heck are you talking about? Public employees perform a job. If you need a police officer to you call one JQP? If you need a fire fighter do you call 911? These men and woman that serve the public are performing a necessary job. Would you prefer a society without public employees? I am sorry that your life "bites" as you so decently state it. Blaming others and making baseless comments about public employees won't resolve any of your issues. Jeff Meyer Tuckahoe, NY
Just ask March 22, 2012 at 03:31 AM
Jeff I wanted to rebuff on Mr Public's comment, but you did a fabulous job. He will never understand what public servants do for him everday, until we are desperately needed for his service. I think you should be badgering the banks and all the greed on wall st that caused the financial crisis, and not the public servants that risk their life everyday.
Bob Ogden March 22, 2012 at 12:17 PM
JQP, If being a public employee is such a gravy train, what is it that you do for a living. Share with us please because I'd love the insight from someone who is as hard working and heroic as you.


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