BRADENTON, Fla. — Atlanta unions want the Georgia Supreme Court to consider their appeal of the city's landmark pension reform package.
Police, fire, and employee unions filing of the appeal comes after the Nov. 10 ruling by the Fulton County Superior Court that tossed out their lawsuit challenging the reforms championed by Mayor Kasim Reed during his first term in office.
The suit challenges measures adopted by the Atlanta City Council in 2011, particularly the requirement for union employees to provide higher contributions, according to the publication Pensions & Investments.
Atlanta instituted pension reform to improve lagging finances, including establishing a defined contribution plan for all future employees.
Under the new plan, current employees could keep their existing defined benefit program but would have to increase their annual contributions by 5%.
As an alternative, existing employees could join the newly created defined-contribution plan.
City officials said at the time that the pension changes were designed to eventually eliminate an unfunded pension liability that was more than $2 billion.
The union lawsuit was filed just over a year ago.
When the Fulton County court sided with the city in the recent ruling, Reed said the reform measures had been working as anticipated.
"We were able preserve the financial sustainability of our pension system without layoffs, service reductions, or tax increases," Reed said Nov. 12. "The city of Atlanta is now in strong financial health, which will allow us to make the necessary investments to maintain Atlanta's position as the dominant city in the southeast."
Reed hasn't issued a statement since the union's notice of the appeal was filed.
The benefit restructuring was a major reason that Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's revised their outlooks on the Atlanta's Aa2 and A general obligation ratings to stable from negative in 2012.
Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, Moody's said it was a credit negative because of the uncertainty it created.