Firefighters organizing pension protest at Raimondo fundraiser

• Update: Raimondo says she respects union pacts

Treasurer Gina Raimondo will have some uninvited guests at her fundraiser in Providence tonight.

Paul Valletta, president of the Cranston firefighters union, confirmed to WPRI 12’s Tim White that his members will be picketing outside a campaign fundraiser Raimondo is holding Monday night at Rick’s Roadhouse to coincide with the Patriots’ appearance on Monday Night Football.

“It’s just our way to say that we haven’t forgotten what the general treasurer did to many state workers, police officers, teachers and firefighters,” Valletta told White on Monday. “It hasn’t been forgotten that people’s lives have been changed negatively when they didn’t have to be.”

Valletta famously argued during last fall’s debate over the new pension law that Raimondo had “cooked the books” by getting the Retirement Board to change investment and actuarial forecasts in ways that worsened the pension fund’s finances. Raimondo said the new numbers were more accurate.

The R.I. State Association of Fire Fighters has asked all off-duty members to join the protest, writing in an email that it’s “very likely that she will be making a run for the governor’s seat next election.” Valletta said some police officers may show up, as well, but they don’t want to cause “a mess on the street.”

“One of the issues we are focusing on is the age issue: with the change to the pension you are going to have firefighters stay into their 60s and 70s to get a full pension,” he said.

Echoing an argument gaining steam of late, Valletta said Raimondo should have negotiated changes to the pension system at the bargaining table with organized labor rather than having state lawmakers approve the changes unilaterally.


  • Raimondo looks to broaden her base heading into 2013 « On Politics

    […] Valletta, president of the Cranston firefighters’ union, tells WPRI’s Tim White that his members may be joined by other firefighters in protesting Raimondo’s even tonight. […]

  • RISailor

    The changes were not enacted unilaterally. There were multiple hearings over many hours and the unions, including Valletta, participated in the meetings and hearings. But…. many of the union concerns/proposals were not adopted because they were not balanced. Why don’t Valletta, Walsh, Nee, etc. tell it like it is. They lost and they are unahappy and trying to change the legislation – that’s OK – I understand that. But to continually claim that the legislation was enacted unilaterally is simply not true.

    • whahut

      How about you “tell it like it is” “Many” of the union proposals were not adopted?? Try NONE. And they “were not adopted because they were not “balanced”?? More like they were not adopted because they were IGNORED. You can try to pretend negotiations took place, but it is glaringly apparent they did not. Negotiations are a give and take process that result in an agreement by both parties. Raimondo did plenty of taking, what did she give? And where is the agreement between the two parties? Please explain…

      • retired 2006

        The figures that she showed in the charts are not and were not ones that the Social Security even uses. So how can she say that the figures are accurate when the federal government that supplies the figure say that they do not use the one she used. If you use incorrect information you can not get the true picture.

      • Tough Love

        Perhaps that’s because all the Union’s proposals taken together would have saved next to nothing … standard Union “negotiating”.

      • whahut

        Do tell, Tough to look at. You are evidently familiar with all the unions proposals, tell us what they were, and the dollar amounts they would have saved. You do know don’t you? Hate to think you made that up, hoping no one would call you on it, because I just did.

  • art

    Judge a person by their enemies…she must be doing a great job

    • whahut

      I judge a person by the dopey platitudes they use.

    • Steve

      We all make choices in life and if you are unhappy quit your union job and move out of state…wish we were more like Wisconsin.

      Nobody is asking you to keep your job….

      • whahut

        Are you talking to me, nitwit? What makes you think I’m unhappy, or in a union for that matter. Since you’re the one whining about how wonderful Wisconsin is, why don’t you move there?
        Nobody is asking you to stay here and cry about unions…

    • Rich

      You are right on target. Valletta is just a union goon. He could never work outside of Rhode Island let alone in the private sector. Now is the time to rub Rhode Island’s public sector employees noses in this mess, and let them know they have no value as “employees” and as human beings.

      • whahut

        So Rich is now deciding who has value as a human being, based on their union membership. Big on name calling huh Richie? You keep your coward mouth shut when there are union members around though, don’t you? So how are you going to “rub their noses” in it, big shot? Tell us all what a big man you are.

      • Tough Love

        Name calling of union members is not productive … but their UNION is indeed worthy of all the name-calling you can think of.

      • oreo

        Rich which is short for Richard which = DICK! Rich, get educated you are embarrassing yourself. Seems “DICK” has made some bad decisions in life, uneducated, jealous of working people but the name fits!

    • Tough Love

      Amen !

  • Madeleine

    I feel that Gina Raimondo is doing an excellent job, and I hope she does run for Governor. She’ll do an excellent job, a lot better than “gumpy”. People just don’t like honest politicians, she’s telling it like it is. This state is in such a horrendous state, that if something isn’t done, there will be no more Rhode Island. Keep up the good work Gina.

    • Myendheldup

      Apparently she didnt gut your pension you worked all your life for now did she. She is a selfish millionaire seeking political profit to suit her own needs.If the government can’t honor their own contract,then no contract is worth the paper it’s signed on. Whats that do for America? Nothing is sacred if this stands up to scrutiny. No Court Judgements on marital property rights,no mortgage or business contracts are worth anything,etc.. The word and honor of our government will be completely worthless.

      • Tough Love

        Quoting …”Apparently she didnt gut your pension you worked all your life for now did she. ”

        You mean that pension …. that grossly excessive pension when compared to what Private Sector Taxpayers (that pay for YOUR pension) typically get … negotiated in BAD FAITH (with incredible disregard for the Taxpayers) by elected representatives bought and paid for with Union campaign contributions and election support ?

  • downsized54

    Gina Raimundo will do a great job as our next Governor or Congresswoman.Angel-Linc only care about the 2014 union vote.Valetta,Walsh,Nee your membership is lucky to be employed.If they were unemployed you would not be getting paid off the hard of others.

    • Myendheldup

      Easily stated when it’s not your entire life’s work wrapped into someone elses political ambition. Our governement should have told us thirty years ago they would try desparately to screw us out of our hard earned end of life sustenance. I would have kept my pension contributions and invested in something else. But that wasn’t offered to me now was it. They paved the streets and paid the electric bill with my money. The folks at Enron did the same thing to their workers and they are all in jail. Run for Governor,these people should be in jail!

      • Bill

        Sorry you got suckered in by the State’s Ponzi scheme. They offered you returns which couldn’t possibly be sustained by paying you with future tax receipts. There isn’t enough money left in the State’s, Cities’ and Towns’ tax rolls to pay for these promises.

      • Tough Love

        Quoting …”Our governement should have told us thirty years ago they would try desparately to screw us out of our hard earned end of life sustenance.”

        No, YOU should have realized tha as some point (and that point is NOW) that Taxpayers would wise us to the financial rape being perpetrated upon them via the collusion between theie politicians and your Union …. and rightfully renege on these outrageous, unnecessary, and unfair (to taxpayers) promises.

  • Firefighters Plan to Protest All Raimondo Fundraisers

    […] Valletta, the head of the Cranston fire fighters’ union who is organizing a picket line in front of a Gina Raimondo fundraiser tonight says his members plan to protest every fundraiser […]

  • Bob

    Unions speeding to their demise one nail at a time!

  • Al Moncrief


    The Colorado Court of Appeals has reversed and remanded an initial District Court ruling that denied the contractual status of public pension COLAs in Colorado. The Court of Appeals confirmed that Colorado PERA pension COLA benefits are a contractual obligation of the pension plan Colorado PERA and its affiliated public employers. A huge victory for public sector retirees in Colorado! The Colorado Legislature may not breach its contracts and push taxpayer obligations onto the backs of a small group of elderly pensioners.

    The lawsuit is continuing. Support pension rights in the U.S. by contributing at Friend Save Pera Cola on Facebook!

    In 1977, the (U.S.) Supreme Court clarified that state attempts to impair their own contracts, ESPECIALLY FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS, were subject to greater scrutiny and very little deference because the STATE’S SELF-INTEREST IS AT STAKE. As the court bluntly stated:

    “A governmental entity can always find a use for extra money, especially when taxes do not have to be raised. If a state could reduce its financial obligations whenever it wanted to spend the money for what it regarded as an important public purpose, the Contract Clause would provide no protection at all . . . Thus, a state cannot refuse to meet its legitimate financial obligations simply because it would prefer to spend the money to promote the public good rather than the private welfare of its creditors.”

  • lost in ri

    whether you think the benefits are right or wrong , they were promised by the state.

    i am no fan of valetta, or most union leadership, but the state made promises and emplopyees planned their lives around those promises.

    finally, raimondo is as republican as mitt romney ever was….

    • We're Doing God's Work

      That’s because Raimondo worked for Romney at Bain.

      All of these private equity scumbags just want to raid the public coffers for private gain.

      They don’t want the state to work.

      They just want a few more million.

      Speaking of which, doesn’t it seem like a conflict of interest that Gina invests public pension fund money in her old company, Point Judith Capital, of which she is the primary beneficiary.

      Boy, that’s convenient. I’m glad that trust is “blind.” I’m sure there’s no insider trading going on there.

      Where’s Peter Nehrona on this?

      • We're Doing God's Work

        By the way, if she loves the state so much, then why did her company move out of state when she became Treasurer.

        This is just a stepping stone. She will milk millions out of RI before she milks billions out of Uncle Sam. And she’ll do it on the backs of the middle class.

    • Wow

      “raimondo is as republican as mitt romney ever was….”

      Is that supposed to be an insult…?

      • We're Doing God's Work

        As long as she has a ‘D’ next to her name, it should be.

  • Raimondo to Cranston firefighters: I respect union contracts | Blogs

    […] before firefighters planned to picket her fundraiser, Treasurer Gina Raimondo reminded them that she opposed efforts last year by Governor Chafee, […]

  • John

    Is Raimondo cheering for the Texans?

  • steve

    the politicians screwed up rhode island. now they are trying to fix it. i am so happy i moved to massachusetts. from a regressive peanut state to a progressive state.

    • Tough Love

      Earth to Steve, Mass is near broke too.

  • Tough Love

    Ted, What I particularly found interesting was Valletta’s statement … “It hasn’t been forgotten that people’s lives have been changed negatively when they didn’t have to be.”


  • eatingdogfood

    Democrats + Unions = BANKRUPTCY !!! Sorry Guys, R I Is BROKE !!!

    • whahut

      Sorry dope, states can’t declare BANKRUPTCY!!!

  • Bunchoffools

    I hope he state wins and goes on to take more. Municiple unions should be completely dismantled. Take back everything that they have stolen! They should not get pensions, they should be getting billed when they retire.

    • Tough Love

      They should get (expressed as a % of cash pay) the same pension that the average Private Sector worker gets if retiring at the SAME age with the SAME years of service.

      With that as the appropriate goal, the pensions of miscellaneous Public Sector employees would be reduced by roughly 50-65%, and safety worker pension would be reduced by 75%.

      • oreo

        Then I should be PAID like those Engineers in the private sector, yes? I’m all for that! I’d take $120,000 a year thank you.

      • Tough Love

        Oreo, You likely have no confidence in you abilities. That’s why you went to worker for the gov’t. In the Private Sector, you’d still be getting coffee for the real engineers.

  • Bob

    Hey unions, see Michigan and their right to work law? It’s coming for you, as sure as the sun rises it will be here.

    • whahut

      Yeah, just as soon as there is a republican majority in the RI General assembly. How’s that coming along? The sun will burn out first…

      • Tough Love

        You do realize you pension is toast ?

      • whahut

        Really, Tough to look at? Why don’t you tell me all about my pension. But before you start whining about how my pension is no fair because you don’t get as much from your McJob, be advised, I’m not even in a union. So tell me why my pension is “toast”?

      • Tough Love

        whahut, Your pension is toast because there is less than 50 cents of assets on hand for each $1 (in present value) of liabilities …. for ALREADY ACCRUED pensions for service ALREADY rendered.

        There is no return from that level.

        A 25% haircut will happen w/o doubt, with 50% more likely.

        Starting from 100%, I call that “toast”.

      • whahut

        What pension genius? I’m not in a union.

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