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Police Union to Intervene in Teachers’ Lawsuit

The International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO (I.U.P.A.) has joined a lawsuit that seeks to overturn the new requirement that public employees, including law enforcement personnel, will be required to contribute 3 percent of their pay toward their pensions and that reduces the cost of living adjustments for new retirees.

The suit was recently filed against Gov. Rick Scott and other state leaders over a new mandate that public employees participating in the state retirement system contribute 3 percent of their salary toward their pensions. The unions will argue that the legislation mandating the 3 percent contribution is unconstitutional.

Supporters of the suit maintain that requiring current participants to contribute to the Florida Retirement System is the equivalent of imposing a new tax on them as well as a violation of existing agreements.

By joining the suit on behalf of all of its members and the law enforcement officers that it represents who currently participate in the FRS system, the I.U.P.A. is seeking to have the law declared invalid and to have the 3% contributions refunded to the participants.

Because law enforcement officers, firefighters, and a host of other public employees face the same imposition of a 3 percent contribution to the fund, the police union asserts that imposing the mandatory contribution on current employees is not only a violation of established contractual obligations, but is essentially a 3 percent pay cut.

I.U.P.A.’s International President, Sam A. Cabral said, “It is important to realize that the state is jeopardizing the public safety by imposing unfair requirements on our police officers and deputies. Scott and the people supporting him should not be permitted to balance the budget on the backs of our children or the safety of the public.”

Critics of defined benefits programs under the FRS have claimed that it is in financial trouble and will cost more in the future than local and state governments can afford in the future. However, earlier this year Raymond Edmondson, chief executive officer of the Florida Public Pension Trustees Association, said that the programs are safe for employers and employees alike. He said, "There's nothing wrong with the system. To talk about pension reform, they're reforming something that's not broken."

The court has scheduled a trial on the suit to begin on October 26, 2011.

About The International Union of Police Associations
Originally chartered in 1979, the International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO is the only AFL-CIO chartered labor union that exclusively represents law enforcement officers and other support personnel. The more than 100,000 law enforcement personnel (one out of every four eligible) represented by the I.U.P.A. are all full time employees of law enforcement agencies ranging from line officers up to first line supervisors as well as civilian employees. The I.U.P.A.’s mission is to protect and advance officers’ wages, benefits and work conditions. Membership includes officers from agencies throughout the United States and in the Caribbean. More information is available at www.iupa.org.  

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