PRESS RELEASE: Five San Jose Unions Propose $467 Million In Pension Savings to City

For Immediate Release:  September 28, 2011

San Jose, CA—Today, five San Jose unions representing San Jose police officers, firefighters, architects and engineers, middle managers, and maintenance supervisors unveiled a pension reform plan that provides the City with nearly a half billion dollars in reduced pension costs over the next five years.

“We’ve said all along that we’re for real, legal pension reform,” said Robert Sapien, President, San Jose Firefighters, Local 230.  “Together, we’ve put forward a pension reform plan that saves the City nearly $500 million in the first five years alone and hundreds of millions of dollars more over the long term.”

The proposals put forward by San Jose Police Officers’ Association (SJPOA), San Jose Firefighters, Local 230 and IFPTE, Local 21’s (representing AEA, CAMP and AMSP) were officially submitted to the City earlier today.  The proposals significantly reduce the cost of pension benefits, increase the retirement age, and decrease the rate at which pension benefits are earned among other changes.

The proposals from the SJPOA and Local 230 include providing an option for current employees to move to the CALPERS pension plan—the largest public pension plan in the nation.  All new police and fire employees would enter the CALPERS system as well.

“In addition to the significant savings achieved through our retirement proposal, if the City accepts this proposal, the SJPOA will drop its arbitration over whether our members’ 10% pay cut continues on an ongoing basis,” stated George Beattie, President of San Jose Police Officers’ Association.  “Just that element of the proposal alone saves the City $30 million in next year’s budget.  It’s a major concession that will save city services.” 

The proposals submitted by the unions were all analyzed by nationally renowned actuary, Thomas Loman of Bolton Partners.  Mr. Lowman is the Chief Actuary at Bolton Partners, Inc.  He has been a Fellow in the Society of Actuaries, an Enrolled Actuary and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries since 1982. He is a nationally recognized expert in the design, funding, and administration of retirement and post retirement medical plans.

“We’ve gone the extra mile to make sure our math adds up, that our proposals are actuarially sound,” stated Nancy J. Ostrowski, IFPTE, Local 21 Senior Staff and Lead Negotiator.  “These are real savings, based on the City’s own cost projections.  Our employees are clearly leading the way for retirement reform.”

In addition to the proposals submitted by the unions, the Association of Retired San Jose Police Officers and Firefighters also released details of their proposals to the City of San Jose for currently retired police officers and firefighters.

“Retirees have protected benefits, but we also want to be part of the solution to the City’s issues,” stated Paul Salerno, Vice President of the Association of Retired San Jose Police Officers and Firefighters.  “Our proposal provides an alternative to litigation and provides the city with $30 million of savings over a five year period.  To our knowledge, we’re the only retiree organization in California providing any concessions.”

“We’ve put forward an aggressive proposal that meets all of the City’s stated goals,” Sapien said.  “We sincerely hope the city will work cooperatively with us to implement these reform measures that are legal and provide savings now.”