Cincinnati Pensions Under Attack
by Bentley Davis

There is a corporate backed attack being lodged against workers and retirement security in Cincinnati.  I urge all readers who are in Cincinnati to decline to sign and fight this proposal.  For those readers outside of Cincinnati, please share this with those who live or work in the area.

This group is circulating petitions to change the Cincinnati charter in such a way as to destroy the city’s pensions and the retirement security of the workers who make Cincinnati a great place to live and work.  As a Cincinnatian who spends her days working for retirement security, I take this attack personally – and you should too.

So, what about this particular attack?  Paid circulators are asking people to sign a petition that they claim with ensure a fair retirement.  Fair to whom?  Certainly not to the city workers or retirees.

The petition language (and some of the news coverage about the petition) fail to note that Cincinnati employees pay into the pension instead of into Social Security.  The city’s contribution is in lieu of the employer contribution to Social Security too.  Yet the proposed amendment says that new hires are only entitled to the money they themselves contribute (section 2 of the petition language) – and while the city MAY match, they have no property claim to that match.  So the city wouldn’t even have to offer the same basic retirement security that is open to those of us in the private sector.

This proposed amendment does not acknowledge the major changes that were made to the Cincinnati retirement system since 2008; when twice the city passed major reforms that raised retirement ages, made employees responsible for a greater share of medical costs, increased employee contributions, and reduced pension benefits.

I cannot stress enough how unfair this proposal is.  It is simply wrong and an attack on retirement security in general.  Again, if asked to sign this petition, please decline to do so.  And please, let others know about this attack on retirement security.

PS:  If you observe anyone using deceitful tactics while circulating these petitions (we have been told of some); please email me the information ASAP.  I can be contacted at


Bentley Davis is the State Director for the Alliance for Retired Americans in Ohio