ALBANY, N.Y. June 8, 2011 - The 600,000-member New York State United Teachers today blasted a new Tier 6 pension proposal that would produce no short-term savings for school districts and taxpayers, calling it "an assault on middle class workers and a diversion from the state's failure to support its public schools."
NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta noted that school districts - which plan to lay off some 16,000 teachers and staff to make up for $1.3 billion in state education cuts - are unlikely to be hiring new teachers in the near future. A proposed job-killing property tax cap, he added, would further limit the ability of schools to expand programs and hire new teachers.
"This is just another attack on middle-class workers at the behest of big business and corporations," Pallotta said. "This is a diversion from the real issues that face our state, such as New York's failure to adequately provide the resources that students in its public schools need. This proposal would not provide a dime of savings in the near term for the state or for school districts, nor would it provide an iota of mandate relief from the pension cost spikes caused by Wall Street's greed."
• The New York State Teachers Retirement System is fully funded, and has been recognized as one of the best-managed retirement systems in the nation.
• From 1997 to 2003, school districts paid 1.5 percent of payroll or less into NYSTRS, at a time when teachers contributed 3 percent.
• The New York State Teachers Retirement System paid out $5 billion in benefits in 2009; more than $4 billion to retirees living and spending money in New York state.
NYSUT, the state's largest union, represents more than 600,000 teachers, school-related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education, professionals in education and health care and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.