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Bristol/Warren Regional School Employees, AFSCME, AFL-CIO v. Chafee

Superior Court of Rhode Island

August 4, 2014

BRISTOL/WARREN REGIONAL SCHOOL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 581, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; BRISTOL CIVILIAN POLICE DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1853, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; BRISTOL SEWER EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1853, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; BURRILLVILLE TOWN EMPLOYEES UNION, LOCAL 186, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; BURRILLVILLE SCHOOL DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 2231, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; CENTRAL FALLS CITY & SCHOOL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1627, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; CRANSTON SCHOOL SECRETARIAL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 2044, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; EAST PROVIDENCE SCHOOL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 2969, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; EAST PROVIDENCE MANAGERIAL & TECHNICAL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 3223, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; EXETER-WEST GREENWICH SCHOOL DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 2636, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; HOPKINTON TOWN EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 3163, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; JOHNSTON TOWN EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1491, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; MIDDLETOWN SCHOOL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1823, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; NEWPORT CITY EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 911, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; NEWPORT SCHOOL DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 841, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; NEW SHOREHAM TOWN & SCHOOL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 2855, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; NORTH PROVIDENCE PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1491-1, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; NORTH SMITHFIELD TOWN EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 937, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; PAWTUCKET CITY EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1012, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; PAWTUCKET SCHOOL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1352, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; PAWTUCKET PROFESSIONAL & TECHNICAL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 3960, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; SOUTH KINGSTOWN TOWN EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1612, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; SOUTH KINGSTOWN SCHOOL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 3125, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; TIVERTON SCHOOL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 2670, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; TIVERTON TOWN EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 2670-1, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; WEST WARWICK HOUSING AUTHORITY, LOCAL 2045-1, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; WOONSOCKET CITY EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 670, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; WOONSOCKET SCHOOL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1137, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; WOONSOCKET PROFESSIONAL & TECHNICAL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 3851, AFSCME, COUNCIL 94, AFL-CIO; BARRINGTON EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT STAFF TEAM, NEARI, LOCAL 868; INDEPENDENT CUMBERLAND SCHOOL EMPLOYEES, NEARI, LOCAL 863; EAST GREENWICH MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES’ ASSOCIATION, NEARI, LOCAL 851; EAST GREENWICH EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS, NEARI, LOCAL 856; EAST GREENWICH CUSTODIAL AND MAINTENANCE EMPLOYEES, NEARI, LOCAL 811; EAST PROVIDENCE TEACHERS’ ASSISTANTS, NEARI, LOCAL 896; EAST PROVIDENCE SECRETARIES ASSOCIATION, NEARI, LOCAL 89; FOSTER EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS, NEARI; GLOCESTER EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS, NEARI, LOCAL 857; JAMESTOWN EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS, NEARI, LOCAL 824; LITTLE COMPTON MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION, NEARI, LOCAL 860; LITTLE COMPTON EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS, NEARI, LOCAL 862; MIDDLETOWN AUXILIARY SCHOOL PERSONNEL, NEARI, LOCAL 853; MIDDLETOWN MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES’ ASSOCIATION, NEARI, LOCAL 869; NARRAGANSETT EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS, NEARI, LOCAL 885; NEWPORT MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, NEARI, LOCAL 840; NORTH KINGSTOWN EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS, NEARI, LOCAL 864; NORTH SMITHFIELD EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS, NEARI, LOCAL 854; PONAGANSETT EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS, NEARI, LOCAL 858; PORTSMOUTH MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES’ ASSOCIATION, NEARI, LOCAL 871; SCITUATE PARAPROFESSIONALS, NEARI, LOCAL 804; SMITHFIELD EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS, NEARI, LOCAL 891; SOUTH KINGSTOWN EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS, NEARI, LOCAL 890; SOUTH KINGSTOWN MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES’ ASSOCIATION, NEARI, LOCAL 826; WOONSOCKET TEACHER ASSISTANTS, RIFTHP, AFL-CIO; LOCAL 951; CRANSTON TEACHER ASSISTANTS, RIFTHP, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 1704; NORTH PROVIDENCE EDUCATIONAL WORKERS, RIFTHP, AFL-CIO; LOCAL 2435; NORTHERN RHODE ISLAND COLLABORATIVE EMPLOYEES’ UNION, LOCAL 4940; RHODE ISLAND LABORERS’ DISTRICT COUNCIL, LOCAL UNION 808; RHODE ISLAND LABORERS’ DISTRICT COUNCIL, LOCAL UNION 1033; RHODE ISLAND LABORERS’ DISTRICT COUNCIL, LOCAL UNION 1217; RHODE ISLAND LABORERS’ DISTRICT COUNCIL, LOCAL UNION 1322; NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 153;NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 68;NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 69;NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 97;INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF POLICE OFFICERS, LOCAL 472;INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF POLICE OFFICERS, LOCAL 555
v.
LINCOLN D. CHAFEE, in his capacity as GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF RHODE ISLAND, GINA RAIMONDO, in her capacity as General Treasurer of the State of Rhode Island, and the EMPLOYEES’ RETIREMENT SYSTEM OF RHODE ISLAND, by and through the RETIREMENT BOARD, by and through Gina Raimondo, in her capacity of Chairperson of the Retirement Board, and Frank J. Karpinski, in his capacity as Secretary of the Retirement Board CITY OF CRANSTON POLICE OFFICERS, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF POLICE OFFICERS LOCAL 301, AFL-CIO; TOWN OF BRISTOL POLICE OFFICERS, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF POLICE OFFICERS LOCAL 304, AFL-CIO; TOWN OF JOHNSTON POLICE OFFICERS, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF POLICE OFFICERS LOCAL 307, AFL-CIO; TOWN OF BARRINGTON POLICE OFFICERS, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF POLICE OFFICERS LOCAL 351, AFL-CIO; CITY OF WOONSOCKET POLICE OFFICERS, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF POLICE OFFICERS LOCAL 404, AFL-CIO; TOWN OF NORTH SMITHFIELD POLICE OFFICERS, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF POLICE OFFICERS LOCAL 410, AFL-CIO; TOWN OF RICHMOND POLICE OFFICERS, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF POLICE OFFICERS LOCAL 425, AFL-CIO; TOWN OF WARREN POLICE OFFICERS, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF POLICE OFFICERS LOCAL 470, AFL-CIO; TOWN OF NORTH KINGSTOWN POLICE OFFICERS, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF POLICE OFFICERS LOCAL 473, AFL-CIO; TOWN OF SOUTH KINGSTOWN POLICE OFFICERS, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF POLICE OFFICERS LOCAL 489, AFL-CIO; TOWN OF MIDDLETOWN POLICE OFFICERS, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF POLICE OFFICERS LOCAL 534, AFL-CIO; TOWN OF HOPKINTON POLICE OFFICERS, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF POLICE OFFICERS LOCAL 498, AFL-CIO; TOWN OF EAST GREENWICH POLICE OFFICERS, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF POLICE OFFICERS LOCAL 472, AFL-CIO; TOWN OF WEST GREENWICH POLICE OFFICERS, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF POLICE OFFICERS LOCAL 517, AFL-CIO; TOWN OF GLOCESTER POLICE OFFICERS, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF POLICE OFFICERS LOCAL 638, AFL-CIO; TOWN OF FOSTER POLICE OFFICERS, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF POLICE OFFICERS LOCAL 637, AFL-CIO; TOWN OF NEW SHOREHAM POLICE OFFICERS, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF POLICE OFFICERS LOCAL 720, AFL-CIO
v.
LINCOLN D. CHAFEE, in his capacity as GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF RHODE ISLAND; GINA RAIMONDO, in her capacity as General Treasurer of the State of Rhode Island; and the EMPLOYEES’ RETIREMENT SYSTEM OF RHODE ISLAND, by and through the RETIREMENT BOARD, by and through Gina Raimondo, in her capacity of Chairperson of the Retirement Board, and Frank J. Karpinski, in his capacity as Secretary of the Retirement Board WOONSOCKET FIRE FIGHTERS, IAFF LOCAL 732, AFL-CIO; CRANSTON FIRE FIGHTERS, IAFF LOCAL 1363, AFL-CIO; NORTH KINGSTOWN FIRE FIGHTERS, IAFF LOCAL 1651, AFL-CIO; TIVERTON FIRE FIGHTERS, IAFF LOCAL 1703, AFL-CIO; BARRINGTON FIRE FIGHTERS, IAFF LOCAL 1774, AFL-CIO; MIDDLETOWN FIRE FIGHTERS, IAFF LOCAL 1933, AFL-CIO; JOHNSTON FIRE FIGHTERS, IAFF LOCAL 1950, AFL-CIO; SMITHFIELD FIRE FIGHTERS, IAFF LOCAL 2050, AFL-CIO; NORTH PROVIDENCE FIRE FIGHTERS, IAFF LOCAL 2334, AFL-CIO; NORTH CUMBERLAND FIRE FIGHTERS, IAFF LOCAL 2722, AFL-CIO; CUMBERLAND RESCUE SERVICE, IAFF LOCAL 2725, AFL-CIO; VALLEY FALLS FIRE FIGHTERS, IAFF LOCAL 2729, AFL-CIO; CUMBERLAND HILL FIRE FIGHTERS, IAFF LOCAL 2762, AFL-CIO; LINCOLN RESCUE AND FIRE FIGHTERS, IAFF LOCAL 3023, AFL-CIO; COVENTRY FIRE FIGHTERS, IAFF 3240, AFL-CIO; EAST GREENWICH FIRE FIGHTERS, IAFF LOCAL 3328, AFL-CIO; SOUTH KINGSTOWN EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES, IAFF LOCAL 3365, AFL-CIO; COVENTRY FIRE FIGHTERS, IAFF LOCAL 3372, AFL-CIO; FOSTER EMERGENCY SERVICES, IAFF LOCAL 3422, AFL-CIO; NORTH SMITHFIELD FIRE FIGHTERS, IAFF LOCAL 3984, AFL-CIO; CUMBERLAND FIRE FIGHTERS, IAFF LOCAL 4114, AFL-CIO; WEST GREENWICH FIRE AND RESCUE, IAFF LOCAL 4771, AFL-CIO
v.
LINCOLN D. CHAFEE, in his capacity as GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF RHODE ISLAND, GINA RAIMONDO, in her capacity as the General Treasurer of the State of Rhode Island, and the EMPLOYEES’ RETIREMENT SYSTEM OF RHODE ISLAND, by and through the RETIREMENT BOARD, by and through Gina Raimondo, in her capacity of Chairperson of the Retirement Board, and Frank J. Karpinski, in his capacity as Secretary of the Retirement Board

Providence County Superior Court

Rhode Island Public Employees’ Retiree Coalition, et al Carly Beauvais Iafrate, Esq, Jay E. Sushelsky, Esq,

Bristol/Warren Regional School Employees, Local 581, et al. Thomas R. Landry, Esq.

R.I. Council 94, AFSCME, AFL-CIO Locals: Boys & Girls Training School Local 314, AFSCME, Council 94, AFL-CIO, Locals, et al. Lynette Labinger, Esq.

Cranston Police Officers, IBPO, Local 301, et al. Gary T. Gentile, Esq., Paul V. Sullivan, Esq.,

Plaintiff Firefighters, et al. Joseph F. Penza, Jr., Esq., Douglas L. Steele, Esq., Megan K. Mechak, Esq.,

Cranston Fire Fighters, Local 1363, AFL-CIO Mark B. Gursky, Esq.

Joseph Clifford, et al. Sean T. O’Leary, Esq.

Defendants Lincoln D. Chafee and Gina Raimondo James Lee, Esq., Rebecca T. Partington, Esq

Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island, John A. Tarantino, Esq., Patricia K. Rocha, Esq, Nicole J. Benjamin, Esq, Julia C. Hamilton, Esq, David Boies, Esq.,

Rhode Island Association of School Committees Samuel D. Zurier, Esq.

DECISION

TAFT-CARTER, J.

Before this Court is the Defendants' Motion to Join Municipal Entities as Indispensable Parties and/or Parties Whose Rights May be Affected by the Declarations Sought in the above-entitled actions. Plaintiffs[1] filed the underlying declaratory judgment actions in 2012 against the Governor and General Treasurer of the State of Rhode Island, the Employees' Retirement System of Rhode Island (ERSRI), by and through the Retirement Board, and the Chairman and Secretary of the Retirement Board (collectively, Defendants), challenging the constitutionality of the Rhode Island Retirement Security Act (RIRSA) of 2011.

This Motion raises common issues of fact and law. For the purposes of judicial economy, this Court issues one Decision applying to each of these three separate actions. Jurisdiction is pursuant to Super. R. Civ. P. 19 (Rule 19) and G.L. 1956 § 9-30-11.

I Facts and Travel

A detailed recitation of the facts and travel of these cases has been provided by this Court in its April 25, 2014 Decision. See Rhode Island Council 94 v. Chafee, 2014 WL 1743149 (R.I. Super. Apr. 25, 2014). Consequently, this Court will provide only the facts it deems necessary for ruling on the instant Motion.

The Plaintiffs in these cases—associations and unions representing general municipal employees, municipal fire fighters, and municipal police officers—are all participants of ERSRI through membership in the Municipal Employees' Retirement System (MERS). The Plaintiff Unions entered into collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) with their respective employers that provide for retirement benefits. In 2011, the General Assembly enacted RIRSA as a consequence of the underfunding of Rhode Island's public pension system. RIRSA altered the standards for retirement for employees in the retirement system, reduced retiree benefits, and permanently reduced cost of living adjustments (COLAs).

In 2012, Plaintiffs brought the instant declaratory judgment actions, asserting that RIRSA is unconstitutional under the Contract Clause, Takings Clause, and Due Process Clause of the Rhode Island Constitution. Plaintiffs also seek equitable relief, including a temporary restraining order and/or permanent injunction prohibiting the State from relying on or applying RIRSA to Plaintiffs, and ask this Court to restore and make whole all retirement benefits diminished by application thereof.

On May 29, 2014, Defendants filed the instant Motion, seeking to join all municipal entities in Rhode Island on the grounds that they are indispensable parties to these actions. Plaintiffs in C.A. No. 12-3167, C.A. No. 12-3169, and C.A. No. 12-3579, with the exception of Cranston Police Officers and Fire Fighters, filed a consolidated objection to the Motion. The Woonsocket Fire Fighters, IAFF Local 732, et al., Plaintiffs in C.A. No. 12-3579, joined in the consolidated objection and filed an additional objection with separate arguments. Cranston Police Officers, IBPO Local 301, Plaintiffs in C.A. No. 12-3169, filed a separate objection to Defendants' Motion.[2] The Rhode ...


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