March 27, 2024

Port Chester Rallies in the Rain to Fix Tier 6

Author: Kara Smith
Source:  NYSUT Communications
Port Chester Rallies in the Rain to Fix Tier 6
Caption: Hundreds of Westchester County activists rallied in Port Chester, calling for legislative fixes to the Tier 6 pension tier.

It was a cold and rainy March afternoon, but that didn’t dim the spirits of hundreds of Westchester County educators and activists who rallied in support of fixing Tier 6. The Port Chester Teachers Association, led by Christopher Kazim, organized “March on the 6th to Fix Tier 6” a rally and march highlighting the vast disparities between Tiers 5 and 6 and earlier pension tiers, and calling on lawmakers to institute changes. “I was sitting in gridlock traffic one day when it came to me ‘March on the 6th to Fix Tier 6,’” Kazim told the crowd. “Here we are, five months later, and I never could have imagined the tremendous support we have today!”

Chanting “Fix Tier 6” and clad in royal blue T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “March on the 6th Support Our Schools!” Port Chester activists were joined by supporters from several surrounding communities, including White Plains, Mamaroneck, Eastchester, Blind Brook and Harrison. “We did a big rally yesterday in Albany at the Capitol and they will continue until we see progress,” said NYSUT President Melinda Person, part of a broad slate of event speakers. Explaining that compared to earlier pension tiers, Tier 6 members must contribute more to receive significantly less in retirement, she called on supporters to fight for pension improvements on behalf of Tier 5 and 6 members. “If you look around you see solidarity across the generations and that’s important, everyone is united!”

Other speakers included Westchester County Executive George Latimer, CSEA Unit 9200 President Hattie Adams, Westchester County Legislator Nancy Barr and several Port Chester administrators.

Kazim cited the work that earlier tier members put in to make improvements to Tier 4 and pledged to do the same on behalf of Tiers 5 and 6 colleagues. “We know change can happen, and we are in a similar situation with the current tiers,” he said. “The inequalities are staggering when compared to Tier 4 … it’s time to pay it forward as was once done for Tier 4. We cannot stop until Albany and Gov. Hochul hear us!”