4

Florida Teachers Union Hops on the "Sue Rick Scott" Train

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of South Florida and help keep the future of New Times free.

In the fourth recent lawsuit targeted at policies of Gov. Rick Scott, the Florida Education Association is now suing over a 3 percent pay cut to the salaries of teachers and other school workers.

According to a news release from the union, the lawsuit was entered today in circuit court, alleging that the state enacted unconstitutional legislation in mandating 3 percent of salaries for employees enrolled in the Florida Retirement System count as "contributions" to their retirement benefits.

The lawsuit secondly alleges that the Legislature's actions resulted in a reduction of cost-of-living benefits for those investing into the FRS, which they also contend is unconstitutional.

"This pay cut was used by legislative leadership to make up a budget shortfall on the backs of teachers, law-enforcement officers, firefighters and other state workers," FEA President Andy Ford says in a statement. "It is essentially an income tax levied only on workers belonging to the Florida Retirement System. It's unfair -- and it breaks promises made to these employees when they chose to work to improve our state."

This marks the fourth recent lawsuit targeting the governor, including two from the ACLU of Florida over drug testing of state employees and the state's new voting reform law; and the other filed by several state medical groups over the "glocktor" law.

The text of this lawsuit -- which can be found here -- cites that the mandatory "contributions" to the retirement fund violate three provisions of the Florida Constitution: a stipulation for a noncontributory retirement plan, another for taking private property without full compensation, and another for impairing the right of the employees to engage in collective bargaining.

Florida Statutes, under §121.011(3)(d), has mandated that the retirement system remain noncontributory since July 1, 1974.

If the Florida Education Association wins the lawsuit, it's asking that any funds taken from employees from the new law be returned to them with interest.

Ford says that he's aware of the risk of "incurring the wrath" of Senate President Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker Dean Cannon but that they're going ahead with the lawsuit anyway.

"The importance of doing the right thing and protecting the constitutional rights of our members trumps the fears of legislative payback," Ford says.


Follow The Pulp on Facebook and on Twitter: @ThePulpBPB.


Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.