Retiree says state is offering inadequate settlement in LIUNA pension dispute

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Since ABC6 first reported last month on discrepancies in pension payments to hundreds of union members in Rhode Island, a retired worker has come forward saying that if the state doesn’t pay him and others what they believe they are owed, there could be a lawsuit.

“They took a lot of money away from us,” the member, who wants to remain anonymous, told ABC6. He is a retired state worker with more than 30 years on the job. He says he’s missing 12 years of wages.

He says after months of back and forth with the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) and the RI Department of Administration, a settlement was offered to members for 9 years of lost wages.

“I’m owed money that was wrongfully taken from me for 20 years,” he says, claiming that the member group turned down the deal.

The payments in question date back to 2001. Our source says their paystubs don’t show

how much was taken out or where it went.

“Hourly contributions have never been shown on a paystub or W2. It’s supposed to be shown as a deduction,” he says.

Director of Administration Brett Smiley told ABC6 News in October that the state has the resources to “make the situation right” if employees are owed money.

Michael Sabitoni, business manager for the Laborers’ District Council, has said that any irregularities in pension calculations were caused by an antiquated system and that decades of financial records were under audit.

According to our source, members are not ruling out a lawsuit if they can not reach a deal.

Sabitoni wouldn’t comment on the status or findings of the audit, but did say the process is still going, and he believes they are close to working towards a resolution.

The DOA did not comment further.

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2021

Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island