BTU Joins Suit To Stop Forced Retirement Contributions

MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – The Broward Teachers Union has joined a lawsuit from the Florida Education Association seeking to block a new state requirement forcing government workers to contribute 3 percent of their salaries to their retirement funds.

“Florida’s leaders talk ad nauseam about the need to cut taxes for businesses and the state’s wealthiest residents and yet, when it comes to our police officers, firefighters and teachers, they didn’t even blink an eye when imposing this income tax increase,” BTU president Pat Santeramo said in a statement.

In addition to the BTU, the Florida Police Benevolent Association also quickly joined the case.

The legislature passed the changes in the funding of the state employees’ requirements during the 2011 regular session.

The lawsuit listed 11 plaintiffs including teachers, school maintenance workers, sheriff’s deputies, a community college instructor, a county solid waste worker and public hospital employees.

The FEA said the change in the retirement contributions amounts to a 3 percent pay cut. The plaintiffs alleged the new law violates contract rights as well as a state constitutional provision guaranteeing the right to collective bargaining.

In addition, many of the state employees the forced contributions will impact haven’t seen raises in several years, even in the face of rising inflation and prices.

The current system used by the Florida Retirement Fund has been in use since 1974 when the legislature halted any payments.

The 1974 law said the rights of retirement system members are “contractual in nature” and “shall not be abridged in any way,” according to the News Service of Florida.

Still, Governor Rick Scott stood by the law and said it was good for the state of Florida.

“Asking state employees to pay a small percentage into their pensions is common sense,” Scott said. “Floridians who don’t work in government are required to pay into their own retirement. This is about fairness for those who don’t have government jobs. Plus, we are ensuring a pension will be there for state employees when they retire.”

The law will currently take effect July 1 and FEA attorneys said the lawsuit seeks to set aside the money collected and return it with interest to workers if the challenge is successful.

The FEA said lawmakers could find other ways to make up the money if the lawsuit is upheld, including closing tax loopholes and fully collecting taxes on a goods sold over the Internet, but lawmakers rejected those ideas in the past.

The Florida Retirement Fund currently covers 655,000 active employees and 219,000 retirees.

Comments

One Comment

  1. ScottWillSaveUs says:

    Then you know what? Layoff all these employees like it has been happening in the real world, where we have no unions. Union jobs are tax sucking jobs and are for people that can’t fend for themselves and need unions to voice for them. When I get laid off I go on my own and look for another job I don’t need none of that collective crap to help me through.

    C’mon Scott don’t let this tax sucking unions get to you. You will prevail since it is just common sense since all these jobs are funded by taxes and when the tax base is down these jobs have to go, simple as that.

  2. smash44 says:

    You have got to be kidding me. THE GREEDY UNION PIGS and HOGS have stolen enough money from the taxpayer. Three percent. WTF? Any you idiots in this country wonder why you’re kids will be eating tuna fish in retirement when the teachers, cops and firefighters get their full salaries. Wise up Morons.

  3. CAM says:

    AWWWWWWWWWW THOSE POOR TEACHERS AND GOVERNMENT UNION WORKERS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO PAY THEIR OWN WAY. WELL FOLKS WELCOME TO THE NEW WAY OF DOING THINGS. YOU SHOULD PAY MORE THAN 3% AND OH DO YOU THINK THE REST OF US IN THE “REAL WORLD” HAVE HAD ANY PAY INCREASE IN THE LAST 3-4 YEARS? GET OVER YOUR UNBELIEVABLE SENSE OF ENTAILMENT. A PAY RAISE OR FREE ANYTHING IS NOT EVEN CLOSE TO GUARANTEED THESE DAYS. GET OUT FROM UNDERNEATH THE ROCK.

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