Unions Approve Omaha Pension Reforms

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A third union has approved a contract with the city of Omaha, Nebraska that features major pension changes.

Among the changes: new employees will be shifted into a cash balance plan and the full retirement age will be raised. In exchange, Omaha will increase its payments into the city’s pension fund and employees will receive a raise.

From NBC Omaha:

Monday, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert’s office announced a third and final civilian union in contract negotiations has approved an offer which includes changing to a cash balance pension plan for new employees.

A news release from the office says the offer “solves the underfunded pension liability and achieves unprecedented pension reform.”

CMPTEC members were the last union group to accept an offer changing from defined benefits to a cash balance plan. The change only impacts new employees hired after January 1st.

The unions include CMPTEC, Local 251 and the Functional Employees Group. A fourth group, AEC, is not represented by a bargaining unit, but it will receive the same benefits.

Each group’s agreement allows current employees to remain in the existing pension plan with reduced benefits and an extension to the number of years required to achieve normal retirement.

In return, the City agreed to increase contributions to the pension fund by 7% over the five-year agreement, give employees a 9% raise over the five-year period, and a 1% one-time “lump sum supplement” for 2013 when wage freezes were enacted.

“I am grateful to the membership, the union negotiators and our negotiating team led by Mark McQueen and Steve Kerrigan for agreements that are good for our employees and the taxpayers,” said Mayor Jean Stothert.

The Personnel Board has already approved the Local 251 agreement. In January, they will meet to approve the other two. The City Council must also approve the contracts.

The contracts run through 2017.

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