Rhode Island Court Rules in Favor of Government Worker Retirees

September 15, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – A lower court in Rhode Island has decided in favor of government worker retirees and indicated the state cannot freeze government pensions, reports the Asbury Park Press

The court allowed eight public worker unions to proceed in their lawsuit, which seeks to block recent pension reductions (see RI Judge to Hear Unions’ Challenge to Pension Changes). The judge also held an annual cost-of-living increase and a pension are “one and the same.”

The decision is expected to be appealed to the Rhode Island Supreme Court. It contradicts lower-state court decisions in Colorado (see Court Supports Lowering COLAs for COPERA Members) and Minnesota, which have held that pensions can be frozen.