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PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter ruled this month that Pawtucket cannot force retired school employees to start sharing the cost of their health-insurance premiums because of conditions outlined in previous contracts.
Rhode Island Council 94 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees applauded the decision in Botelho v. City of Pawtucket, which the union filed on behalf of the retired school workers. In 2007, Pawtucket began sending invoices to retirees for a health-insurance premium coshare, claiming it had the right to charge retirees the same costs as active employees.
Taft-Carter’s bench decision said that the city had breached its promise to pay health-insurance benefits from the time of retirement until age 65.
“The court’s decision represents a significant victory for retirees by affirming that employers cannot unilaterally cut retirement benefits,” said Council 94 President J. Michael Downey in a statement. •