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Schenectady County Legislature unanimously supports St. Clare's Hospital retirees

November 13, 2018 11:38 PM

SCHENECTADY - The Schenectady County Legislature unanimously passed a resolution supporting the former St. Clare's Hospital employees whose pension benefits hang in the balance.

"When the letters came out that the pension was going to run out between 2024 and 2026 it was horrendous for everybody," former employee James Mack said.

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Last month more than 1,100 retirees were told the St. Clare's Corporation would not have enough money to pay them from through 2028. 

And because the hospital took advantage of a religious exemption in federal law in the early 1990's, the retirees have no hope of a bailout from the government.

"Somebody there knew this was going on for years, this is a heinous act and this is something that we aren't going to stand for," Mary Hartshorne said.

The former employees say St. Clare's was the people's hospital and they, worked for decades to serve their community.

"We are a family we've been a family since the day the hospital opened and we continue to be a family today," Ceil Mack said.

Lori Taviero, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this summer.

Because she wasn't 62 years old by the plans cutoff date in November of 2015, her benefits will stop in January.

She worked at st. clares for more than two decades. 

"I'm going to continue to fight this disease of cancer and to beat losing this pension," Taviero said.

The group now looks to a multi billion dollar health foundation, created by the catholic church, to help payout what was initially promised by St. Clare's Corporation. 

"3.2 billion. 1% of that I think is 34, 32 million. What's 1 percent?" Randy Stark said.

The resolution will be sent to the Roman Catholic Diocese, Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, Governor Andrew Cuomo and other lawmakers.

Those who will take a lump sum of their benefits need to have their decision received by St. Clare's Corporation by December 14th. 

Credits

Karen Tararache

Copyright 2018 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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