RI pensioners protest outside treasurer's fundraiser - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

RI pensioners protest outside treasurer's fundraiser

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By Abbey Niezgoda

aniezgoda@abc6.com

They braved the rain and they skipped the football, to stand outside of a barbecue joint and protest State Treasurer Gina Raimondo's Monday night fundraiser.

About 100 firefighters and a few police officers lined Richmond Street and booed every supporter who walked in the door. 

"We are here just to show that we're not forgetting what she did to people," Paul Valletta Jr., president of the Cranston Firefighters said.

What 'she did' was over a year ago, when the treasurer spearheaded landmark pension reform that passed through the legislature.

"We just saw our pension benefits basically destroyed," Paul Reed, President of the Rhode Island Association of Firefighters said. "We have real concerns about our health and safety."

They booed every supporter who walked in the door because they say real democrats do not cross picket lines. The treasurer refused to acknowledge the crowd, and instead slipped in a side door.

The crowd full of firefighters and police officers all agree something had to be done, because the money to pay for their pensions would have eventually run out without the reform, but they say they never got a chance to have their say.

"We got 5 minutes to talk in front of the finance committees," Valletta said. "That's not negotiations."

They are currently trying to negotiate in Superior Court. In the meantime, they say they will picket every fundraiser the treasurer has until 2014, when they expect Raimondo to run for governor.

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