When Governor Cuomo proposed giving future employees the option of choosing a defined-contribution retirement plan, the 66,000-member Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) and its allies angrily rejected the idea, calling DC plans part of an "assault on the middle class" and a threat to retirement security of workers. To be sure, Cuomo's proposal was poorly conceived and inadequately funded. But instead of lobbying for a better DC plan, like the one already chosen by three quarters of the professors at the State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY), CSEA President Danny Donohue and other union bosses loudly, persistently and categorically rejected any kind of personal retirement account option.
The News nails this one cleanly:
Remember that 401(k)-style retirement option the public employee unions hated so much? The one they portrayed as an assault on the middle class? The one they predicted would doom government workers to poverty in old age? The one they succeeded in blocking for their entire membership?
Well -- now that Gov. Cuomo's pension overhaul is law -- that same benefit is all of a sudden a "perk" and a "really big cash bonus."
Those who qualify get "an extra 8% of salary each year," the Civil Service Employees Association screams in a new TV ad. "And in just one year, they can take the money and run."
CSEA wants the audience to think this is some kind of scandal, because the "perk" is available only to nonunion employees who make $75,000 or more.
What the ad doesn't mention is that Cuomo tried to give that same choice to all workers -- on a purely voluntary basis -- and CSEA and the other unions turned him down flat.
CSEA President Danny Donohue and fellow labor bosses decided future workers should have defined-benefit pensions or nothing.
Kowtowing lawmakers gave them their wish.
And now they complain that political appointees are getting special treatment?
The hypocrisy is breathtaking.
Union members should watch the ad and know that 401(k)-style retirement accounts can be a sweet deal -- especially for employees who spend less than a full career on the public payroll.
They should also know that the ones shafting them out of this nice benefit were none other than their own union leadership.