Thousands Rally Against Pension Plan

Days before a vote on Rhode Island's pension overhaul, a throng of union workers gathered at the state house for a rally Tuesday. If this plan passes, it could drastically change their lives.

We've seen rallies over the pension overhaul before but not of this magnitude. Thousands filled the area outside the state house. Roads literally had to be blocked off because of all of it.     

The public workers said it's getting down to the final hour, and they have to do something. Their retirement is at stake, so these thousands of public workers said they're not taking the pension overhaul plan sitting down.

They booed the legislation that would increase their retirement ages, suspend their cost of living benefits, and create a hybrid benefit system.

“This is not about people balancing a budget, it's about people balancing their lives,” said folks at the rally.

Longtime state engineer Lisa Lawlass said she knows other people feel her pain. “To be honest with you the last time there were changes I was emotional,” said Lawlass, “It was very difficult, but at this time right now I feel as though if I really thought about it I wouldn't be able to go to work in the morning.”

Lawlass said under the new pension plan she'll have to work 11 extra years before she can retire, and she's not the only one desperate to stop lawmakers from endorsing the new pension plan.

“It's not being thought out very well,” said teacher William Volpe, “It seems like it's a quick fix situation and a quick fix idea that they're going to come up with and everything will be fine, and I don't think so.”

The House and Senate finance committees vote on the plan Thursday. Once the committees endorse the bill, it will go to the full General Assembly.