After an attempt by a Metro Council member to turn the entire Metro pension system into a 401K-type plan was foiled by Local 205, The Tennessean reported on March 8 that the Dean Administration is still considering radical reforms to the defined benefit retirement plan and the health insurance plans that employees were promised when they were hired.
The Mayor formed the “Study & Formulating Committee”, which is charged with reviewing all Metro employee benefits and making recommendations to the Benefit Board, the Mayor, and the Metro Council. This committee had their first meeting in May to elect their officers and set their schedule. On June 16, SEIU Local 205 made a presentation to the Committee, laying out the Union’s first round of proposals for them to consider. They were…
- Increase the Pension Multiplier for General Govermment employees (for at least the first 25 years of service) or Increase the Pension Multiplier for all employees for all service.
- Allow employees to choose a lump sum payment for accrued vacation time at retirement along with service credit for time paid (a lump sum payment would not be considered in average earnings computation – no “spiking”).
- Implement a prospective cost of living adjustment (COLA) for Disability Pensioners in line with the Service pension plans.
- Increase the COLA of Division B to match that of Division A.
- Allow a salary supplement to employees who would otherwise have to go on Disability Pension who could continue to work in another position that pays less.
- Establish a Position in H.R. to coordinate with the Benefit Board to facilitate this proposal along with Return to Work Disability Pensioners with focus on reasonable accommodation, case management coordination with the Board and other Metro departments.
- Study the effect of five year vesting vs. ten year, including cost and liability savings.
- Request for the Union to continue to comment and to provide information to the Committee on any other items that are submitted.
Thanks to Clyde Smith of Metro Water Services for his input on the Union’s presentation and for the union members from our Metro and Retiree chapters who attended the June committee meeting. The Union’s proposals are not final and will continue to evolve as the Study & Formulating Committee keeps meeting over the next several months.