Florida Teachers Sue State To Avoid Paying For Pensions

florida teachers

Photo: Courtesy of ABC Action News

Florida teachers are suing the state to block a new law that requires public employees to start contributing to their pension plans.The lawsuit, filed Monday by Florida’s 140,000-member teachers union, argues the state violated its contractual obligations when it passed a law requiring state workers to contribute 3% of their salaries to the state retirement system. The teachers also object to a provision that would end cost-of-living increases for retirees.

The suit, which represents several state employee unions, claims that the new mandates amount to an “unconstitutional” pay cut. State workers have not paid into their pension plans since 1974.

The new employee contributions will not be used to shore up Florida’s pension system, which is in relatively good shape. Instead, the estimated $1.2 billion savings will help close a $3.5 billion gap in next year’s state budget.

The teachers union has asked the court to put the savings aside until the case is resolved.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott dismissed the unions’ claims, saying the changes are needed to bring the state pension plan in line with the private sector. Until now, Florida has been the only U.S. state that does not require employees to contribute to their retirement funds.

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