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UPDATED Teachers' union to lawmakers: Back off FRS

FEALeaders of the state teachers' union held a press conference Thursday morning to blast proposed changes to the Florida Retirement System.

Standing beside a basket of colorful plastic Easter eggs, Florida Education Association President Andy Ford and Vice President Joanne McCall said the pension proposals would deprive teachers of their nest egg. 

"Because of the actions of our political leaders, teachers have no expectation of continuing employment, no due process and a performance-based pay system that is not funded and based on bad or irrelevant data," McCall said. "Now they want changes to the pension system that guarantee retirement insecurity. These proposals make it more difficult to recruit and retain high-quality teachers."

The House is considering a proposal that would prohibit new hires from enrolling in the state pension plan; they would instead enroll in the defined-contribution system. The Senate bill would give employees a pension option, but would make the defined-contribution plan the default choice.

The teachers' union considers the Senate proposal "the more palatable plan," but doesn't see the logic in either.

Said Ford: "It's all about politics. Part of the ALEC legislative agenda is to change defined-benefit plans into defined-contribution plans."

Later in the morning, House Speaker Will Weatherford responded, saying the union was using "scare tactics."

"They have to ask themselves the questions: Should we keep spending $500 million a year to bail out a broken system? Or should we take that $500 million a year and invest it in things like teacher pay and investing in our education system and investing in our children?" Weatherford said. "I don’t think the unions want to have that conversation.”


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Those who can, teach; those who can't, make laws about teaching.

Dave Galloway

Rep. Weatherford is but a tool for ALEC. He's the one afraid of an open, honest conversation. The FRS remains one of, if not the strongest defined benefit plans in the entire nation, PERIOD. The only shortcoming the FRS has had in the last three years is being underfunded by Weatherford and his ilk. The problem w/ Rep. Weatherford is that he believes the lies that ALEC has demanded he spread . . .

Mary Wright

ALEC has been a tool of destruction around the country. They want us to be a third world country; begging in the street for food, clothing, and a place to stay. Studies have been done on why the pension in our state has been succeeding. The National Institute on Retirement Security has FACT CHECK our great State. Its fact school teachers job turnout is low because of the Pension System.

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