RI House speaker: Leave pension dispute to courts

December 5, 2012 - 6:33 PM

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Rhode Island House speaker is opposing Gov. Lincoln Chafee's (CHAY'-feez) call for talks with labor unions seeking to overturn sweeping changes to the state retirement system.

Democrat Gordon Fox said Wednesday the dispute over the pension law should be settled in court and the time for negotiations was before the independent governor signed the changes into law.

Democratic Treasurer Gina Raimondo and an influential business-backed organization that supported the overhaul also oppose negotiations.

Chafee met Tuesday with two top labor officials. Any compromise would have to be approved by lawmakers.

The law was designed to save billions of dollars in future years by suspending pension increases and changing benefits for thousands of active and retired teachers and government workers.

A hearing on the state's motion to dismiss the unions' lawsuit is scheduled for Friday.