Union members react to possible pension cuts during Labor Day picnic

Union members react to possible pension cuts

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – A day normally filled with celebration had another lingering mood: one of fear.

The Annual Labor Day at the Zoo Picnic featured several Greater Louisville Unions where members talked about the possibility of Governor Matt Bevin cutting pensions

“People don't know, they're afraid, and they're just thinking, if it's going to change and it's going to be that bad, I need to get out,” Ron Richmond, a representative with American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the union known as AFSCME, said.

Some recommendations under the Bevin administration would mean cutting the monthly pension checks of retirees and moving current government workers and teachers into a 401K-style plan. 

“People depend on a pension system to really give that stability and if you take that away, especially mid-stream, you're really causing more damage than help,” Richmond said. 

Unions members that would be affected by these changes handed out fliers highlighting the issue while at the picnic.

We're basically trying to make sure that we have a coordinated response to this, and make sure that the voices of both future retirees and current retirees are a part of the public conversation about this pension crisis and how we address it,” Richard Becker with Service Employees International Union, a union that largely represents JCPS custodians, said.

“These are workers who decided to go into public service because of the promise of strong retirement when they got to the end of their careers, and so we're obviously going to be fighting to make sure the pension system, as it was promised to our members, is upheld.”

No decisions have been made at this point. The Kentucky Public Pension Coalition is urging union members to speak up and call their local representatives.  

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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