Public Employee Press: PEP Talk
Early Retirement passes for NYC essential workers
By MIKE LEE
An Early Retirement Incentive was included as part of the New York State Budget that passed on April 7. This hard-fought victory was won thanks to an intensive lobbying effort and campaign by DC 37 and other city unions.
The ERI allows city workers who qualify the option to retire early, thereby relieving pressure on city agency budgets while also giving much due recognition to our dedicated civil servants and opening up a pathway to public service for the younger generation. The ERI allows certain employees covered by the City pension system to retire by increasing their pension benefits either by crediting them with extra years, or eliminating the pension reduction taken when they retire before age 55 with 25 years of service.
DC 37 fought hard to pass an ERI both as a benefit for our workers, but also to use as a tool to prevent potential future layoffs.
“The sisters and brothers that make up District Council 37 are the unsung heroes of this city. This last year, while many worked comfortably from home, our members kept the hospitals clean, watched your children in day care, and ensured the parks were safe so that New Yorkers could socialize outdoors,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “It is not only fair, but also just, that they are allowed to retire early rather than face potential layoffs. I thank our elected leaders for putting working people first and thanking them for their sacrifice with action, not just words.”
In a WCNY interview, State Sen. Andrew Gounardes, who introduced the legislation with State Assembly member Peter Abbate, was happy with the passage of the ERI.
“An Early Retirement Incentive is a better alternative than to lay people off during a budget crunch,” Sen. Gounardes said.
Next, the City must determine what titles will be eligible for the benefit. Those decisions are expected by July.
Once approved by Mayor Bill de Blasio, eligible City workers will be able to apply. The open application period is expected to be 90 days. All pension members would retire under the rules of their current tier and plan.
For more information about eligibility, members should contact their division representative. The union has consolidated several divisions, and more information for members of locals impacted by this change may be found on page 30 of the PEPTalk magazine.