Pensions

Atlanta Unions Sue over Pension Reforms

Two years after ordinance passed requiring them to pay more into plans

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Union workers representing Atlanta fire, police and city employees have filed a lawsuit against the City of Atlanta over pension contribution hikes enacted two years ago, returning focus on pension reform that largely defined Mayor Kasim Reed's first term.

The lawsuit — filed by a handful of union workers including Stephen Borders, president of the Atlanta Professional Firefighters union — alleges an ordinance requiring employees to pay a 5 percent increase toward their benefit plans is a breach of contract and therefore unconstitutional. The plaintiffs are seeking class action status.

City officials, facing a $1.5 billion pension liability consuming about 20 percent of its annual budget, enacted the ordinance in 2011.