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Teamsters Local 79 Challenges Florida Pension Law

(WASHINGTON) –Teamsters Local 79 has filed a lawsuit against the State of Florida over changes to the Florida Retirement System (FRS) requiring employees to contribute 3 percent of their salaries into the state pension fund. The change went into effect July 1.

The Teamsters legal action contends that the contribution requirement is unconstitutional. Requiring a 3 percent contribution from employees impairs the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the Citrus County School Board (CCSB) and Tampa-based Teamsters Local 79.

Teamsters Local 79 and Adolph Baumann, a Local 79 member who works for CCSB, are plaintiffs in the case.

“Our collective bargaining agreement does not allow the state to impose this hardship on our members. This is wrong, it’s immoral and Teamsters are going to stand up and fight for our members,” said Ken Wood, Teamsters International Vice President and President of Local 79.

“I feel like we were betrayed. People who work in the school system don’t make much money to begin with, but we should get the benefits we were promised,” said Baumann, a 21-year custodian with CCSB in Inverness. “The new governor and legislature are breaking our contract by taking this money out of our salaries.”

The plaintiffs are asking the court to permanently stop CCSB from taking 3 percent from Teamster members’ paychecks. According to the CBA between CCSB and Teamsters Local 79, the Florida Retirement System (FRS) will not cost CCSB employees a thing. The new pension laws go against this—requiring a contribution that costs employees 3 percent of their pay, and according to the Florida Constitution, laws cannot be passed that impair contracts, like the CBA between CCSB and Teamsters Local 79.

Teamsters Local 385 members in Orlando recently joined a lawsuit filed by a coalition of public sector unions against the State over the 3 percent contribution. Like the Teamsters Local 79 lawsuit, this lawsuit also states that the 3 percent contribution is unconstitutional. However, this lawsuit instead deals with employees’ basic rights when they participate in FRS, as opposed to how the new pension laws affect a particular CBA.

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

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