Assemblyman Rory Lancman may feel his colleague Grace Meng’s temporary support for Tier VI during the voting proceedings is a winning issue as they compete for a congressional seat in Queens, but Ms. Meng’s campaign isn’t sitting down and sent out a blistering statement from her campaign spokesman, Michael Tobman, criticizing Arthur Cheliotes, the president of CWA Local 1180, for stating his disappointment in her and accusing her of misleading workers.
“It’s offensive that any labor leader would stoop so low as to use such a dishonest attack to prop up his endorsed candidate,” Mr. Tobman said. “This is especially disturbing from a labor leader so clearly embarrassed by his actions to disenfranchise minority voters by opposing the minority candidate in a district drawn for empowerment. I would say ‘it reminds me of the good old days’ but there was nothing ‘good’ about those days.”
Assemblyman Rory Lancman, a candidate for Congress in Queens, declared his consistency on labor issues in response to The Politicker‘s story yesterday noting one of his rivals for the nomination, Assemblywoman Grace Meng, initially indicated she supported Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Tier VI pension proposal before ultimately voting against it.
“I can’t speak for anyone else but when it comes to the issues that matter to working people, you’ll always know where I stand — my light doesn’t flicker,” Mr. Lancman said in a statement after we discussed the issue with his campaign.
Night of the Living Deals
Albany’s “Night of the Living Deals” included the passage of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s pension reform plan for public employees. Both the governor and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, perhaps the most high profile supporter of Tier VI, released statements praising the passage of the proposal.
“This bold and transformational pension reform plan is a historic win for New York taxpayers and municipalities that will save more than $80 billion over the next 30 years, while preserving retirement security for public workers. Without this critical reform, New Yorkers would have seen significant tax increases, as well as layoffs to teachers, firefighters and police,” Mr. Cuomo said.
Legislators are returning to work at the Capitol in Albany after four days out of session and, on their way back, they’ll be greeted by a “giant inflatable Wall Street pig” named “1%.” AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, announced their intention to stage the porcine protest against Governor Andrew Cuomo’s pension reform proposal in a statement sent out yesterday.
“’1%,’ a giant cigar-chomping Wall Street pig will be making his debut and welcoming politicians back to Albany. The pig, “1%,” is named after the greedy Wall Street special interests and large corporations in the one percent that willingly distort the facts, and outright lie in order to promote Tier 6— Governor Cuomo’s 40% pension-cutting scheme,” the statement said.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg appeared on Fred Dicker’s radio show, “Live From The State Capitol,” to discuss Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Tier VI pension reform proposal. Despite rumors of a strained relationship between hizzoner and the governor, Mayor Bloomberg, who was joined by Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings, praised the push for pension reform and blasted legislators who are trying to block Tier VI.
“Our message is that we have an expense that none of us can afford; pension costs that were voted by the Legislature are just destroying the budgets from one end of New York State to the other,” Mayor Bloomberg said.
In a Q&A session with reporters after the cabinet meeting today Governor Andrew Cuomo discussed the state of his push to reform the pension system for public workers. Governor Cuomo was asked about legislators who are demanding he negotiate the reforms with the unions and get them to agree to a plan, but he was adamant that there’s nothing to negotiate and the unions are inherently opposed to reform.
“We just finished negotiating quote-un-quote with our public employee unions; salaries, benefits, et cetera when we did contracts. The contracts were ratified. Pensions are not subject to collective bargaining negotiations, so you can’t negotiate a pension in the collective bargaining. If you just finished negotiating a contract and someone says, ‘Well, go negotiate the pension with the unions and I’ll only pass pension reform if the union agrees,’ there’s nothing left to negotiate with the union,” Governor Cuomo said. “By definition, the unions don’t want a reform that would diminish pension benefits, so the answer’s always going to be, ‘No.’”