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Bob Walsh: the unions are going to win the pension lawsuit

July 20, 2012

Robert Walsh, executive director of the National Education Association Rhode Island, has never been shy with his opinions. And he’s confident that unions will succeed in legally overturning the state’s much-ballyhooed pension overhaul of 2011.

“”The fact that they can be more reasonable, and the fact they know they could be more reasonable is why we’re actually going to win in court,” Walsh says in an interview that will air Monday during RIPR’s Morning Edition.

The lawsuit by a series of unions is pending before Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter. The two opposing sides will head into the discovery phase; observers expect a decision in case before the start of the state’s next fiscal year on July 1, 2013. 

Walsh predicts a court victory will send the pension issue “back to the drawing board,” and he points to the union agreeements negotiated by Providence Mayor Angel Taveras as a better way of doing things.

“And that is where this will end up. They [the state] could save everyone a lot of time, money and aggravation by reaching out to us now, but it looks like we’re going to have to prove what we’ve been telling them all along: that the changes they made were illegal.

 And then we’ll go after the judge decides that, and probably after they appeal; we’ll end up back in the legislature and try to work this out.”

Walsh rejects suggestions the state and its taxpayers can’t afford to lose the pension lawsuit. He says the cost of the pension system should have been anticipated by public officials who instead put off dealing with it.

State Treasurer Gina Raimondo shares her thoughts on the lawsuit in an interview set to air Tuesday on RIPR.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Mister Guy permalink
    July 20, 2012 8:08 pm

    Who cares what Mrs. Raimondo has to say about this lawsuit? It was never about the legality of what she wanted to do to the state’s pension system. It was always all about her running for a higher office in the future. She doesn’t care about anything else, period.

  2. July 21, 2012 1:43 pm

    I wonder what Mr. Cocky will do if he gets his head handed to him by the courts. Courts usually follow contract law but we are not in normal times and does the court want to put more of the municipalities into bankruptcy? Where is the potential $100 Million liability going to come from? We all know the Bob Walsh could give two hoots about the people of this state. I would ask the question what the perception of the voters/taxpayers would be of him and public unions in general if they win? It could get ugly.

    • Mister Guy permalink
      July 23, 2012 8:10 pm

      “Courts usually follow contract law but we are not in normal times and does the court want to put more of the municipalities into bankruptcy? Where is the potential $100 Million liability going to come from?”

      As long as an entity can tax (especially the state of RI), it basically can’t go bankrupt. Violations of the law are just that…violations of the law that the courts can easily correct. Negotiate in good faith with the unions…it’s the only viable option!

      “I would ask the question what the perception of the voters/taxpayers would be of him and public unions in general if they win? It could get ugly.”

      I agree that it will get ugly…for Mrs. Raimondo, which is a good thing IMHO.

Trackbacks

  1. Progress Report: The Geography of Shooting Sprees and the Politics of the Second Amendment; Veggie Medicine
  2. Bob Walsh on the pension lawsuit: “The state went too far in making changes” « On Politics
  3. Raimondo not predicting outcome of pension lawsuit « On Politics
  4. The mythology of “Rhode Island’s most popular politician” « On Politics
  5. State motion to dismiss unions’ pension legal challenge on tap for December « On Politics

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