Unions back RI governor's call for pension talks

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Associated Press

Posted on December 4, 2012 at 9:04 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 4 at 11:02 PM

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Public-sector unions are hailing Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee's (CHAY'-fee) call for talks to settle the closely watched lawsuit over Rhode Island's pension overhaul — but the state treasurer says the dispute should remain in the courts.

Rhode Island Council 94 President Michael Downey said Tuesday there's time to strike a deal to prevent a protracted court battle.

Chafee told WPRI-TV on Monday the state should pursue negotiations to prevent a budgetary calamity if the pension law is struck down.

No negotiations are underway. Treasurer Gina Raimondo is the overhaul's main architect. She says the state has a good case and the law is on its side.

A judge will hear arguments Friday on a state motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

The changes were designed to save billions by suspending pension increases, raising retirement ages and other steps.

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