ACLU Agrees to Raise Concerns about Pension Settlement Voting Process at Court Fairness Hearing

Posted: Apr, 02, 2014

With the first round of voting in the controversial pension reform settlement set to conclude tomorrow, the ACLU of Rhode Island has announced plans to submit testimony at an anticipated “fairness hearing,” if one occurs, in order to raise concerns about the settlement’s opt-out voting process.

In the past month, the RI ACLU has received dozens of complaints from union members and retirees about the settlement’s “opt-out” voting process, which counts all unreturned ballots as votes in support of the settlement. In a letter to the complainants, the ACLU acknowledged the legitimacy of those concerns, noting that:

A fairness hearing, in which the court decides whether the proposed settlement agreement is fair and reasonable, will only be held if none of the designated “classes” of voters reject the proposal during the two rounds of voting that will take place.

While planning to submit testimony at that hearing, the ACLU advised complainants it would not be taking any independent legal action. The letter concluded by emphasizing that while the ACLU did not “question the good faith of all the parties who have been involved in this intricate litigation . . . an opt-in process is the only fair way to conduct a vote like this.”