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Reckless Pension Proposal Busts the Budget, Hurts Students, Parents, Teachers

Republicans rigging the system to favor corporate donors over hardworking school employees

LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO issued the following statement today on legislation approved in the Michigan Senate that will gut retirement savings for Michigan’s hardworking teachers and school employees.

“Cutting retirement savings for new teachers and school employees isn’t just mean, it’s dumb, and it’s downright reckless,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “Instead of improving our schools, this proposal will blow a massive hole in the state budget that will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars for decades to come. It will make it even harder to attract the best and the brightest people to careers in public education, which will make our teacher shortage even worse. That’s bad news for Michigan students and parents, because the key to a good job is a good education.

“Let’s be clear about what’s really going on here. This is just another example of how wealthy corporate donors like the DeVos family are using their money and influence to rig the economy against regular working people. Billionaires like the DeVos family would rather take pensions away from teachers, librarians, and bus drivers than pay their fair share to improve our schools. If these bills reach his desk, Governor Snyder should grow a backbone and veto them.”

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New Report: Legislation That Destroys Teacher Pensions Will Cost Michigan Taxpayers $46 Billion

LANSING – A bill that would destroy pensions for newly-hired Michigan teachers and school employees will cost Michigan taxpayers up to $46 BILLION, according to a new report from the nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency.

House Bill 4647, sponsored by Rep. Thomas Albert, R-Belding, would increase costs related to providing retirement benefits by a minimum of $410 million in the first year alone.

“This bill just went from dumb to dumber,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “You look at a number like $46 billion and your eyes pop out of your head. That’s $46 billion of taxpayer money that we should be using to finally fix the roads, which are literally falling apart before our eyes. And the worst part is, we’ll be leaving thousands of Michigan teachers, bus drivers, and librarians without access to the most efficient and secure method of saving for retirement. The legislature ought to toss this bill right in the trash and start working together on a real plan to fix the roads instead.”

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Michigan AFL-CIO Hires New Director of Public Affairs

LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO announced today it has hired Stephanie Glidden to serve as Director of Public Affairs. In this new position, Glidden will oversee the state labor federation’s legislative and lobbying affairs, working with elected officials to support legislation that supports working families.

“Stephanie brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the position, and we’re thrilled to have her on the team,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “Working people need a seat at the table and a strong voice in the State Capitol. Stephanie is ready to hit the ground running and work with legislators in both chambers to fight for legislation that helps us build an economy that works for everyone.”

Glidden recently served as a regional field director for Gretchen Driskell’s campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives. She previously worked as Legislative Director for Rep. Driskell, and was a Communications Advisor for the Michigan Senate Democratic Caucus.

“As the daughter of a union carpenter, the labor movement has always been near and dear to my family,” said Glidden. “In this new position, my goal is to help build power for working people in the Capitol, and be a strong fighter for the issues and ideas that will help improve lives of our one million active and retired union members in Michigan.”

Glidden is a graduate of Central Michigan University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy and Political Science. She is a volunteer with the City Rescue Mission of Lansing and the National Kidney Foundation.

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Instead of Destroying Teacher Pensions, Lansing GOP Should Fix the Roads

New legislation hurts students, costs taxpayers billions, doesn’t fix roads

LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO issued the following statement today commenting on new legislation introduced by a handful of Lansing Republicans that will destroy pensions for Michigan’s teachers and school employees.

“This is one of the dumbest ideas to come out of Lansing in a long time,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “The key to a good job is a good education. We should be doing everything we can to attract the best and the brightest people to careers in public education, to help our kids get the skills they need to compete for good-paying jobs.

“But this bill does the exact opposite. It will cost taxpayers billions of dollars, and it will completely destroy pensions for new teachers, bus drivers, and librarians, leaving them without access to the most efficient and secure method of saving for retirement. That’s great news for the CEOs on Wall Street, but it’s bad for students, bad for parents, and bad for taxpayers.

“Republicans in Lansing are deeply divided on this issue, and for good reason. As former Sen. Roger Kahn explained, ‘There is no way to close the pension plan and provide a similar benefit without also costing the state a heck of a lot more money.’ He’s right, and his fellow Republicans should listen.

“But let’s be clear about what’s really going on here. Republicans in the legislature are getting enormous pressure from wealthy corporate donors like the DeVos family, who would rather take pensions away from teachers than pay their fair share to improve our schools or fix our roads and bridges. Republicans would be wise to listen to Sen. Kahn and reject this legislation. Instead, they should just focus on fixing the damn roads.”

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