District Council 37
(212) 815-7555
DC 37    |   PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PRESS    |   ABOUT    |   ORGANIZING    |   NEWSROOM    |   BENEFITS    |   SERVICES    |   CONTRACTS    |   POLITICS    |   CONTACT US    |   SEARCH   |   
  Public Employee Press

PEP Feb 2001
Table of Contents
  La Voz

Public Employee Press

New laws improve Tier II and EMS pensions

Gov. George E. Pataki closed out 2000 by signing into law two more pieces of pension legislation long sought by DC 37. The new laws will:

  • Remove a cap on the benefits of city employees in the Tier II pension plan, allowing thousands of DC 37 members to significantly boost their retirement income.

  • Give Emergency Medical Service workers the right to retire with a full pension after 25 years on the job. Funded through increased contributions by the employees, the new law makes their benefit comparable to other uniformed titles.

“Banner year” in Albany
“These latest two laws mark the culmination of a banner year for DC 37 in its legislative work,” DC 37 Administrator Lee Saunders said.

“Thanks to these and other legislative achievements, today’s retirees and city workers will look back on 2000 as a historic year in which they won the most important gains in their pensions in decades,” said Local 1320 President James Tucciarelli, who chairs the DC 37 Pension Committee.

The Tier II law will affect employees who joined the pension system between 1973 and 1976.

The legislation establishing the Tier II plan included a provision capping the maximum retirement benefit that most of the enrolled public employees could receive. While teachers, firefighters and police officers and later members of the state retirement system were excluded, the cap covered most workers in DC 37 job titles in the City Employees Retirement System and the Board of Education System.

“For DC 37, the Tier II cap was not only a pocketbook matter but a basic issue of fairness,” said DC 37 Deputy Administrator Eliot Seide. “We are very pleased to have finally put an end to this injustice.”
The law affecting EMS workers resulted from a lobbying effort by Emergency Medical Service Employees Local 2507, EMS Lieutenants and Captains Local 3621 and District Council 37. For years, EMS workers have wanted to bring their retirement benefit into line with those of other uniformed employees, so the new law is a real source of pride for the two locals.

Now EMS workers will be eligible for full benefits at 25 years instead of a combination of years of service and age. “To assume that people can do our job for more than 25 years is really a stretch,” said Local 2507 President Patrick J. Bahnken.

“Our careers are shortened by our working conditions,” Bahnken said. “The tremendous physical dangers, stress and exposure to diseases like AIDS and hepatitis make it extremely difficult for us to stay on the job as long as other city workers. This new benefit should help address our recruitment and retention problems.”

“Big win” for the union
“This is a very big win for us,” said Local 3621 President Donald Rothschild. “Like the cops, firefighters and Sanitation workers, we now have a pension benefit that is not tied to age. Though there is a five-year difference between our plans, we are now basically on par with them, and we will look for improvements in the future.”

The chief sponsors of the EMS bill were Sen. Serphin R. Maltese and Assembly member Eric N. Vitaliano. The chief sponsors of the Tier II bill were Vitaliano and Sen. Vincent L. Leibell. Besides those three legislators and Pataki, other key political leaders who helped ensure passage of the 2000 pension legislation included Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, New York State Comptroller H. Carl McCall, and state Sens. Frank Padavan and Roy Goodman.



© District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO | 125 Barclay Street, New York, NY 10007 | Privacy Policy | Sitemap