The Michigan legislature is taking action to kill the MPSERS pension system every public school employee has worked under and is currently working under. They will reduce it to a simple 401k system thus discouraging college students from becoming educators, administrators, custodians, bus drivers, secretaries or educational specialists and further eroding the quality of the profession of teacher. House HB4647 and  Senate SB401 have identical language and are moving forward.

Making sense of the the terrible pension killing bills and their impact.

Remember the unilateral change from 1.5% multiplier most of us planned on during our career? It was voted down to a 1.25% that no employee impacted by it could stop. It was never voted on by the electorate just a vote of the politicians to weaken and reduce the pension for all school employees. Same deal is happening now with these proposed bills.

Remember the unconstitutional 3% money grab by the Governor and Republicans in Lansing that was deemed unconstitutional by the courts? That ruling was appealed and upheld as unconstitutional. Even the GOP Attorney General says to abide the two courts’ rulings and return it to the workers… and yet.. we’re not getting it and it is held up for several more years waiting for supreme court to hear the case?  Same deal
This proposed change will stop ALL money going into MPSERS from future employees. It is NOT just teachers but all those within the MPSERS system.  NOTHING more will be contributed by ANY public school employee hired in after the bill becomes law. That means only those still working under a pension system are paying in and that will only occur up to the point they retire. Then the billions in unfunded liability burden fall entirely on the state. Might it seem logical that in 20 or 30 years when people are drawing pensions and NO ONE is paying into MPSERS the State politicians again vote to stop or reduce payments to pensioners? Almost a certainty.
Any Governor, Senator or Congressman passing these bills will be term limited and long gone so they will not be impacted by the horrible decision and the dreadful negative fall out. It will be promises broken by the State to its loyal career educators and support staff.
By weakening and eliminating the pension it will build an easier climate for the Charter and Private schools that Trump, DeVos and Snyder favor to gain access to public funds and to match the public schools’ benefits package. Currently the pension and benefits and pay are still significantly better in public sector. This, along with the sweeping reductions and attacks from 2011, will allow FOR PROFIT companies to exploit the negative climate and make massive profits on the back of the students and staff.
Call your legislator and implore them to vote no
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MPSERS under attack by Lansing! Is your pension safe!?

Please be informed and contact your legislators! There is a link to Legislative contacts under the ‘Resources’ section of this home-page!

Here is a short 4 minute video from the MEA giving your the background on the issue.


Here are some of the key points and resources for contacting your legislator urging a NO vote on changing current system.

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Michigan Education Association has elected new leaders!



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NOT in good standing can jeopardize your career!

Being in a union and having the protection and benefits is much like homeowners insurance. I have been paying on my policy for decades and with the exception of one or two smaller claims for a damaged roof I have not needed to replace my home and belongings due to a fire, but I’m covered if it should happen. I can’t get a policy after the accident and expect it to cover my loss. The same holds true of union representation and legal support should it be needed. Be sure to stay current and please help your colleagues understand the dangers of falling into arrears and becoming a member NOT in good standing.

Read more at the attached link below!


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MPSERS pension system to be closed to new hires! 9-8 vote taken November 30


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The Michigan Legislature is currently on a two-week break, set to return two weeks from today on November 29for it’s Lame Duck period.

Typically, Lame Duck is often very busy, with lawmakers trying to pass as much unfinished legislation as possible before the session expires.  Given that the November 8 election did not result in a change in the balance of power in the Michigan Legislature, it is possible that current leaders will not try to rush too much legislation through in December.

However, the Republican leadership and funders like Dick DeVos have made their interests clear. Their number one priority is eliminating pensions for newly-hired public employees.

AFT Michigan is organizing to fight against this attack.  Public school employees deserve to retire with dignity and security. Our students deserve to have the best teachers, paraprofessionals and school support personnel, which is a goal only accomplished when we are able to attract and retain talented, committed people. Slashing compensation through eliminating pensions is the exact wrong approach.

We encourage everyone to write and call their legislators to tell your story of why a secure retirement is essential to you. You can find your state representative’s phone number and email address here.

Below you’ll find some information that will help you in discussing this complex and important topic with your legislator. You can also find more information here.

Michigan Pension Information

Traditional Defined Benefit Plans Offer Better Return On Investment than 401(K) Plans

A 2014 study by former House Fiscal Agency Director Mitch Bean and former Michigan State Treasurer Robert Kleine found that traditional pensions offer an average 1% increased annual return on investment earnings over 401(k) plans, and have administrative costs (fees) approximately .5% less.  This equals a 1.5% overall improvement on annual returns for traditional pension plans, a number that creates a dramatic difference in earnings over a 30 year work span.

Closing a Pension System Generates Large Transition Costs

When a pension system is closed, it must immediately receive a large infusion of funds to make up for the lost future earnings of new members.  These costs, known as “transition costs,” can be massive.  The Office of Retirement Services estimates that the state would need to add $500 million in new funds to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) should it be closed.  The Bean-Kleine study explained that these costs come from a combination of the loss of new member revenue and the necessity to reconfigure investment assets into a more conservative portfolio.  There are also additional costs stemming from essentially running two retirement systems – one for current employees and one for those hired after the system is closed.

Pensions are not “Broken”

Two major economic downturns in the last 15 years have played havoc with traditional pension systems, but they are not “unsustainable” as some would claim.  Just ten years ago, the public school pension system was nearly fully funded, and it, like most public pension systems in Michigan, is well on the way to recovery.  What is truly broken are the retirement dreams of those workers nearing retirement who have only a 401(k) that collapsed during the Great Recession and do not have the ability to recover over time like traditional pension plans can.  Those individuals face either working years longer than they had planned, or seeking public assistance if they cannot.

Pensions are Vital to Michigan’s Economy and Senior Wellbeing

The National Institute for Retirement Security estimates that pensions in Michigan generate over $11 billion in economic activity each year, and support 77,000 jobs.  In addition, they play a key role in providing Michigan seniors with a safe and secure retirement.  As the private sector has largely abandoned traditional pensions, government assistance programs to seniors have grown correspondingly.  Public pensions are one of the last bastions of secure retirement for Michigan workers, including police officers, fire fighters and school teachers.  Traditional pensions are the best tool for helping workers plan their own retirement and not have to rely on loved ones or public assistance to make ends meet.

The Last Month of Session is NOT the Time to Reform Pensions

Although the overall outlook of Michigan pensions is good, there are certainly changes that could be made to make it easier for public employers to deal with pension debts and ensure long term stability for public pension systems.  However, the systems are far too complex to attempt any sweeping changes in the Lame Duck session like the ones being proposed by some elected officials.  Michigan legislators should oppose rushing to judgement on this issue and instead tackle it in the next legislative session.

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The Portage Education Association and Portage Public Schools’ administration worked long hours and eventually reached a tentative agreement shortly prior to midnight, Tuesday June 14.

Members are urged to regularly check their school and personal email for details on a general membership meeting and timelines and links to voting on-line.

The Executive Board will be working rapidly to set dates and time for the required meeting and voting window. Details will be posted and emailed.

In order to have the right to vote members must be considered ‘in good standing’ with their dues obligations. Please consult prior emails for details on how and who to contact at MEA HQ to get you current if that is an issue.

TA reached

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