Michael Nicely and Tom Bartley are two Toledo firefighters that write occasional columns for Toledo Free Press. This week they submitted a column debunking some of the myths about Senate Bill 5. I recommend Call to Duty: Myths and perceptions of Senate Bill 5 if you are interested in their perspective.
One part of their piece I wanted to point out since it’s been one of the most discussed points out there:
Myth: It is unfair that public employees have pensions
Public workers have a pension system because they are not eligible for Social Security. Just as private employers and employees pay into Social Security, public employers and employees pay into pension funds.
About 20 years ago, the city approached us to start “picking up” our contribution to pension in an effort to stunt the growth of base pay. The percentage pick-up was in lieu of pay raises, the savings being the potential of cost not paid in salary if it had been added to base pay during the long term. For years, these employees agreed to forego pay increases at the city’s request, saving millions in the process.
S.B. 5 makes this practice illegal and voids already-bargained-for payments without compensation for the lost wages.