Local 372 pushes for pension reform bill to be signed by Gov. Hochul
Krystyna Naprawa, a dedicated crossing guard, lost her life on duty at a busy intersection in Queens. Shockingly, her family discovered she had no pension with the city, prompting her son, Tomasz Naprawa, to champion a bill aimed at ensuring automatic enrollment in the pension program for city employees.
"The mayor's office said we're going to do the right thing, so do the right thing," said Tomasz Naprawa. Naprawa would like the mayor to keep a promise he made at his mother's funeral in October, urging action to fix access to pensions.
“There are pensions and other issues, I’m going to sit down and speak with the senate and assembly and see how we can resolve that issue,” said Mayor Eric Adams at the funeral.
“Rain, snow, hail all the things my mom was exposed to and why wouldn’t you want to give that lil thing from the city to compensate for all the stuff your family members missed,” said Naprawa.
Despite serving 13 years with the city, Krystyna Naprawa received nothing in return for her dedication. The proposed bill, supported by Tomasz, seeks to address this issue by automatically enrolling eligible city employees into the New York Board of Education Retirement System.
Union officials reveal that thousands may be unaware of their non-enrollment due to the optional nature of the current system. Donald Nesbit, executive vice president of Local 372, calls the situation a tragedy saying his union members are the only city employees that are not automatically enrolled. This impacts not only crossing guards, but lunchroom employees, SAPIS counselors, and aids.
“These are some of the lowest paid employees who work for our city and give of themselves, they were essential workers during the pandemic and we praised and we clapped only to not support them to where people are walking away after 30 years of service without a pension,” said Nesbit.
The bill now awaits the signature of Gov. Kathy Hochul. News 12 reached out to the mayor’s office and have not yet heard back. Naprawa, whose family would have been entitled to some $90,000 or lifetime pension, are not eligible but he’s still advocating for the bill on behalf of his mother for others.
“I don’t even care if we get those benefits because obviously we’re not entitled but going forward this tragedy could possibly happen to somebody else and why shouldn’t they have those benefits,” said Naprawa.
The union says if the governor does not sign the bill they plan on protesting and holding the Mayor accountable.