Pension Reform: Some Myth-Busters To Follow The Stalemate | StateImpact New Hampshire

Last week, a State Senate bill that initially sought to replace New Hampshire’s defined benefit (DB for short — think pension) plan with a defined contribution plan (DC for short — think 401(k)) dissolved into a stalemate. The Senate and House were not even able to form a commission to make recommendations addressing the state’s $4.2 billion in unfunded liability. There seems to be an inability to agree on the facts. We mined a few sources, especially a report from the National Institute On Retirement Security (NIRS), to try to find some clarity.

People assume DC plans are cheaper than DB plans for employers, and therefore for taxpayers — when it comes to public pensions. But that’s not actually true. Economists agree that defined benefit plans are more efficient than defined contribution plans. There are three reasons.

When an employer pools all of their employees’ investments and risks in a single pension fund, they can spread risk over the long term, saving in the good years and spending that in the bad years.

The pooled investments also prevent over– and under-saving, which is what happens with DC plans because individuals can’t predict when they will die.

DB plans have lower management fees because of what economists call “economies of scale.” Like buying anything in bulk, it’s cheaper to manage all of the money at once, rather than managing hundreds or thousands of individual investments.

Because of all of these factors, DB plans provide the same benefit for 46% less than the DC plan provides.  Read more…

via Pension Reform: Some Myth-Busters To Follow The Stalemate | StateImpact New Hampshire.

Orangeville Article: Orangeville cop files human rights complaint

Allegations of discrimination against the Orangeville Police Association (OPA) will proceed at a Human Rights Tribunal.

Orangeville Police Const. Sean Taylor Cole alleges she was mocked by the OPA executive for mental illness and denied legal representation by the association.

“The Human Rights (Tribunal) took it on, they didn’t dismiss it as frivolous accusations,” Cole’s father James told The Banner. “Hopefully, the Human Rights (Tribunal) will see she has a case and is in the right.”

None of the allegations contained in the complaint have been proven.

In December, 2011, Sheri Price, vice-chair of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, ruled Cole’s application would continue in the tribunal process.

“I am unable to conclude that the applicant has no reasonable prospect of success in establishing a link between the events alleged to have occurred and the Code protected ground of disability,” Price wrote in her decision.

OPA chair Const. James Giovannetti said he is unable to comment on the tribunal.

“If it’s anything that is currently before a tribunal or is going to be before a tribunal, I don’t think it is appropriate for me to comment on it,” Giovannetti told The Banner.

In 2007, Orangeville Police Const. Sean Taylor Cole filed a grievance alleging she was harassed by two of her supervisors between 2004 and 2006.

Cole’s grievance was referred to arbitration by the OPA. However, the OPA advised Cole they would withdraw its participation in the arbitration hearing in February of 2011.  Read more…

via Orangeville Article: Orangeville cop files human rights complaint.

Crystal Sugar, union returning to bargaining table – BusinessWeek

Locked-out union workers at American Crystal Sugar Co. are in the middle of a 200-mile trek to the negotiating table, which the company says could be a long walk for a short meeting.

The two sides are set to resume talks Friday after the union asked a federal mediator to help end the contract dispute. It has been more than 10 months since the lockout started and more than four months than the two sides last met.

The lockout affects about 1,300 union workers at Crystal sugar beet processing plants in North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. The plants have been operating with replacement workers.

Union members are trying to highlight their cause by hiking and camping between locations in the Red River Valley where the company’s sugar beet processing plants are located. The group expects to reach the company’s home base in Moorhead, Minn., on Wednesday.

Union spokesman John Riskey said he and the other walking workers have received warm greetings along the way, but he wouldn’t predict what kind of reception the union would receive at the bargaining table.  Read more..

via Crystal Sugar, union returning to bargaining table – BusinessWeek.

St. Anthony: Forging a steel deal in St. Paul | StarTribune.com

Gerdau is not exactly a household name in Minnesota.But the Brazilian steel giant’s plan to invest more than $50 million in its Mississippi River minimill, tucked away in the industrial southeast tip of St. Paul, is generating positive buzz from labor, business and city officials.”I give the Brazilians credit,” said Chuck Nippoldt, a plant veteran and president of United Steel Workers Local 7263. “They did not ask us for concessions. They extended our contract for two years recently and gave us 2 percent raises. They’re willing to secure our future.”Said Bill Blazar, an executive of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce: “This is a nice case study of business retention at its finest.”Gerdau has commenced a two-year, $55 million investment to replace the 1965-vintage “continuous caster” — the computer-controlled guts of the steel plant, which melts crushed cars and other scrap and shapes it into new products for the mining, energy and construction industries.After the closing of the Ford plant, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said it was important to capture the Gerdau investment and “save these jobs” at a plant that also is Minnesota’s top recycler of old vehicles.”Gerdau has confidence in us and our highly productive, knowledgeable workforce,” Rogerio Turatti, the manager of the St. Paul plant, said in an interview last week. “Our location is good. The new caster is the first step in producing higher-end products. To get to the benchmark that we have to achieve will require investments and training.”  Read more…

via St. Anthony: Forging a steel deal in St. Paul | StarTribune.com.