Law enforcement people around the country are starting to panic that pensions they were counting on and are guaranteed by contract law are in serious jeopardy. For decades law enforcement people who took on one of the most difficult, stressful but important jobs in our society could be confident that after they retired they could count on a pension until they died.
Now that’s all up in the air as cities, states, counties and towns, many of which did not make their required contributions to the pension funds as they were required to do by law, are cutting pension benefits and eliminating defined benefit pensions. Some are even claiming that the entire pension plan could be eliminated because of budget shortfalls, etc.
Michelle Singletary writes in The Washington Post that for an increasing number of retirees in the private and public sector the guarantee of a pension is in jeopardy because so many pension plans are in peril.
It turns out a pension fund in Cleveland became one of the first plans to approve benefit cuts for current retirees — even though it is still years away from running out of cash. A 2014 law made it possible for troubled pension plans to reduce benefits to retirees if it would improve the financial health of the fund.
This move in Cleveland could open the door for other troubled pension plans to follow suit with cuts that could start at 20% and could go as high as 60% – an obvious disaster for anyone who is retired and counting on their pension payments to make ends meet. The fact that many cops, firefighters, EMT’s, teachers and other government workers do not qualify for social security because they had a secure pension fund makes this situation all the more intolerable and unjust.
If you read the stories below there is some positive movement to fight back against this outrage. As everyone learned in highschool civics class, a society that disregards contractual agreements made with its employees is on a road to ruin.
Please let us know what your city or town is doing to protect the pensions of people who devoted their lives and risked their lives along with their mental and physical health to keep people safe. This is a battle that we have to win.