Groups in RI continue to fight to regain lost benefits


More than 60,000 former Rhode Island state workers and teachers lost benefits under the pension reform of 2011.

They fought it in court for four years, until Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter ruled that a compromise was going to be the best solution.

It still removed the annual cost of living increase, or COLA, until the pension fund was almost fully funded.

But a couple of small groups refuse to accept the compromise and are still arguing their case.

On Thursday, it reached the Supreme Court.

“It’s somewhat akin to a developer who doesn’t want to pay his subs after the job is done, with the expectation that well, they’ll sue and it’ll end up paying pennies on the dollar and that’ll be approved by a court and we’ll happily go on,” Thomas Dickinson, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in court.

But for the case to be overturned, the justices would have to overturn the trial judge’s decision. The state

s attorney said there is nothing to fault about her decision.

“She did not overlook anything,” John Tarantino, an attorney for the state, said in court. “That is a very, very thorough 68-page decision. She allowed everyone to be heard. Even objections that were untimely per her order, she forgave the untimeliness and allowed those objections to be heard.”

The justices expect to make their decision in six to eight weeks.

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