St. Clare’s pens letter to Schumer, Gillibrand, Tonko asking for help with pension fund

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St. Clare's

St. Clare’s pensioners are still looking for answers and money after their pension fund ran out in 2018.

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Over one thousand former employees of St. Clare’s Hospital in Schenectady are still without their pensions. The Chair of St. Clare’s s Hospital Pensioners Recovery Alliance wrote a letter on behalf of all the pensioners asking for help with getting their money.

The letter was to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Paul Tonko. Chair Mary Hartshorne asked the legislators to include the pensioners in the “human infrastructure” package currently being negotiated in Congress.

“Given the precedent set by the $86 billion carve-out you created for several pensioners and their pension fund systems earlier this year in the previous $1.9 trillion federal stimulus relief bill, I urge you to now do the same for our St. Clare’s Hospital pensioners,” said Hartshorne.

St. Clare’s Hospital was closed over a decade ago and its operations were taken over by Ellis Medicine. At that point, St. Clare’s Corporation had run out of money and could not cover the pension fund’s costs. Hartshorne still says the pensioners are still unsure why the fund ran dry.

The state, which already contributed $28.5 million to cover pension liabilities, says the mismanagement of the pension fund is the responsibility of the Diocese, and they should fund their fair share.

The former St. Clare’s workers had their pension benefits terminated in 2018. The pensioners are still working with attorneys in a lawsuit they filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany in September 2019.

The pensioners have seen support from the community and other legislators. Senator Jim Tedisco said the pensioners should be in Biden’s “human infrastructure” bill. Tedisco and Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara have been trying to help the pensioners meet with Governor Kathy Hochul so she could help as well.

Hochul’s office did respond to NEWS10’s request for comment about the St. Clare’s pension fund:

“These hardworking New Yorkers deserve better and we look forward to working with stakeholders and legislators to determine whether there are additional solutions on top of what the state has contributed,” said Matt Janiszewski, Upstate Press Secretary for Governor Kathy Hochul.

You can read the full letter to Schumer, Gillibrand and Tonko below:

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