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Third union joins in lawsuit against the governor for pension/pay cut switch

The union that represents school and hospital workers in eight counties joined the lawsuit filed earlier today by the Florida Education Association and the Police Benevolent Association against Gov. Rick Scott for imposing a 3 percent pay cut to balance the budget.

Here is the SEIU press release:

Palm Springs, Fla.-  Earlier this morning, the Florida Education Association (FEA) and the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) filed a lawsuit in Circuit Court in Tallahassee, Fla. attempting to block Senate Bill 2100, which unfairly levies a three percent pay cut on public workers.

Because nearly 9,000 SEIU Florida Public Services Union (FPSU) members will be affected by the new legislation passed by the Florida Legislature, FPSU feels it is necessary to join this lawsuit to protect the hard earned paychecks of thousands of public workers across Florida.

“We are proud to join with teachers, policemen, firefighters and state employees in standing up to Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature to protect our members from yet another disrespectful attack on working families,” said Florida Public Services Union president, Alphonso Mayfield. “This legislation was not about protecting the Florida Retirement System (FRS); it was about taking three percent out of the paychecks of public workers to fund $37 million in corporate tax breaks for big corporations and political donors.”

“I have been enrolled in the Florida Retirement System for 18 years,” said Bobby Mcghee, Palm Beach County School District employee and lawsuit plaintiff. “I took my job in the public sector because the State of Florida agreed to provide me with a paid retirement plan. By showing up to work everyday and doing everything I am asked, I have upheld my end of the agreement with the State of Florida. Now they are trying to change the rules in the middle of the game so they don’t have to uphold theirs.”

The lawsuit filed by FEA this morning alleges that the Florida Legislature has infringed on the contractual rights of public employees by asking them to contribute three percent of their salaries to their pension plans. The FRS has been a non-contributory system since 1974. By now requiring Florida’s 655,000 public workers to contribute to their pension plans, FPSU is claiming that Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature is breaking its contractual obligation to these workers.

SEIU Florida Public Services Union represents 19,000 public sector workers in eight counties, 16 cities, three Head Start agencies and four school districts across Florida. FPSU worksites include: City of St. Petersburg, City of Orlando, City of West Palm Beach, Pinellas County Schools, Palm Beach County Schools and Duval County Head Start Agency. Alphonso Mayfield is the current president of SEIU Florida Public Services Union.

For further comment or member interview requests, please contact Daniel Rubin by phone at (813) 545-4635 or by email at