ALBANY, N.Y. March 15, 2012 - New York State United Teachers today expressed its deep disappointment in Gov. Andrew Cuomo and those legislators who voted to slash pension benefits for future workers.
NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi said the new Tier VI provides zero near-term savings to school districts and state and local governments, while slashing benefits for middle class working New Yorkers. New York had a better choice, he said: closing corporate loopholes to bring in billions of dollars to invest in jobs and education, while enacting new legislation to recoup from Wall Street the $100 billion in pension losses stemming from abuses that crashed the state's economy in 2008.
"It is very simple: Those who chose this path are requiring the 99 percent to pay for the sins of the 1 percent," Iannuzzi said. "We thank those who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with organized labor and the hard-working middle class. This was an opportunity for every legislator to stand with labor and not pander to the 1 percent who are funding the non-stop attacks on labor. Sadly, not all understood that responsibility."
NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta said the clear linkage between this morning's Tier VI vote and a plan to redraw legislative lines is a disappointing reminder of the "old Albany" many had vowed to clean up. "Make no mistake, we know this was tied to redistricting, and we're going to ask: Who chose their own incumbency security over the next generation's retirement security?" he added.
Pallotta thanked Sen. John Sampson and his Democratic conference, as well as the four members of the Independent Democratic Conference, for supporting working people in the Tier VI fight.
NYSUT, the state's largest union, represents some 600,000 classroom teachers and other school employees; faculty and other professionals at the state's community colleges, State University of New York and City University of New York, and other education and health professionals. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.