Governor Paterson has announced an agreement with the state employees’ unions, whom he has been threatening with massive layoffs for months, that will save the state some money and save the unions some jobs and benefits they might otherwise have lost to forced budget cuts.
Per the announcement, the unions say they’ll “support the Governor’s efforts to implement the most significant reform of the state’s pension system in more than a quarter century.” That is, there’ll be a whole new tier of pension plan — Tier V — that raises the retirement age from 55 to 62 and the years-of-service for pensioners from five to 10, demands a bigger employee pension kick-in,and caps discretionary overtime at $10,000 a year. If you haven’t guessed, Tier V is for new employees.
Also, Paterson and the unions will cut about 7,000 jobs “through a targeted separation incentive, aggressive attrition and the elimination of positions that are funded but are currently vacant.” And the unions will cooperate with a “Voluntary Reduction in Work Schedule.”
The whole package is supposed to save $440 million over the next two years. This is the closest thing to a big win the Governor’s had in a long while. We’ll see if anyone notices.