A second post in answer to Dan’s comments. This one:

Ah, I see — so it’s an attempt to remove pensions in favor of something
a bit more modern. Pensions are an anachronism, and public employee
pensions are pretty much screwing the states and localities that are
holding on to them. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is. As long as the
pensions aren’t just tossed out — that is, that no money is put into
the 401(k)s or 403(b)s of the public sector employees, it seems
perfectly reasonable.

Death benefits aren’t normally part of a
retirement fund — that’s what life insurance is for. Any organization
that gets rid of the pensions will no doubt need to replace the death
benefits with some form of life insurance if they want to attract and
keep their employees.

The problem here is that pensions, at least for fire personnel, I cannot speak for others, were intended as a bargain made to firefighters in lieu of pay. The problem is that the average hourly wage for a starting firefighter in Florida is somewhere around $13 an hour. It costs about 20% of payroll to supply a pension. This raises effective pay to about $15.60.Similar professions with similar education requirements get over $30 an hour.

To those out there who claim that firefighters should be treated the same as everyone else, I agree. You can eliminate pensions and go to a 401(k), OK. But what about the fact that firefighters are exempt from overtime requirements under the FLSA, and do not get overtime until they hit 56 hours of work in a week?

Now that the bill is coming due for the pensions that were promised, they don’t want to pay up, and I for one grew tired of hearing how my pay wasn’t like everyone else’s pay when it came to pension, but no one cared when it came to a firefighter working 54 hours a week for straight time.

My last employer started me at $8.23 an hour in 1997. When I retired in 2011, I was making $19.27 an hour. Adjusted for inflation, this was equal to $10.79 in 1990.  

The reason why they want to eliminate pensions is to get out of paying us the money they promised us if we agreed to pay cuts and no raises back in the late 80s and 90s. Now that they are supposed to pay up, they are refusing to do so.

and the threats and cuts to pensions is why so many of us are leaving.

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