AFL-CIO Says Cuomo Pension Plan Unfair to New York State Workers

The AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. labor group, said it “strongly condemns” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to raise the retirement age for public workers and offer a 401(k)-type option, saying employees will be hurt.

“Instead of cutting pensions for workers, we should focus on ensuring that corporations and the wealthiest New Yorkers are paying their fair share of taxes,” the labor group said today in a statement at its executive council meeting in Orlando, Florida.

The state Assembly, controlled by Democrats, approved on March 12 a budget that excludes Cuomo’s pension plan. The Republican-controlled Senate also adopted a budget, and leaders in both houses are seeking agreement on a spending plan before March 31.

Moving to a 401(k) type of retirement account from a state- backed pension would turn over billions of dollars to Wall Street firms whose actions caused “damage” to the financial market starting in 2008, the AFL-CIO said.

Cuomo, a Democrat, has said his pension overhaul would save local governments and the state $113 billion over the next 30 years as it raises the retirement age to 65 from 62 for most new public workers.

The proposal has angered the state’s public-worker unions and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, a fellow Democrat and the sole trustee of the $140.3 billion pension fund.

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