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State Union Coalition Responds to Auditor Report

June 17, 2015 -
The state employee coalition today responded to a letter from the state auditors questioning the payment of disability retirement benefits to state workers.

Council 4 has been at the forefront of efforts to prevent the state, through the Office of the Comptroller, from stopping the payment of disability retirement benefits to workers who have earned them.

According to a statement from the State Employee Bargaining Agent (SEBAC):

"We appreciate the work of the state auditors, and they have raised some points worth considering, but others which are quite off the mark including their mistaken comments about the award of the late nationally renowned arbitrator Jim Healy and the suggestion that comes from that mistake that disabled public service workers are receiving payments they shouldn’t be receiving. The report also fails to mention the risk of threatening to throw people off retirement who have little means of defending themselves. In the past we’ve seen letters received by Alzheimer’s and terminal cancer patients.

"There are parts of the agreement concerning disability retirement which both parties would like to improve in the interests of both the members and the State, and the parties are in discussions about the best way to do that. One of the strengths of collective bargaining is we can do that together, and as always, if there are disagreements about the interpretation or application of the collective bargaining agreement they can and will be resolved by a neutral arbitrator."

SEBAC continues to make it clear that any prospective changes to disability retirement benefits must be collectively bargained.

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