School Union Continues to Deceive Its Members

Matt wrote earlier about the millions of dollars public sector unions have poured in political campaigns to get their union pension bailout. But the unions, particularly the PSEA, are also using compulsory union dues both for political activity (they can use these dues to support candidates, just not in direct contributions to a campaign) and for lobbying. Indeed, lawmakers are now receiving hundreds of the same form-letter produced by PSEA lobbyists.

Every teacher should be concerned how the PSEA is using their dues to lobby—obviously if the PSEA is using dues to promote issues and candidates they don’t support, but also because the PSEA is lying to its members.

For years, the PSEA denied their was any looming crisis in the state pension funds. Their efforts to delay reforms is why many lawmakers feel the need to rush through HB 2497.

Then, the PSEA claimed the only reason the pension funds were in trouble was because the state wasn’t paying its “fair share”—that the state had deferred payments into the fund. Yet this is exactly what HB 2497, legislation the PSEA is supporting, would do—it defers costs onto future generations.

The union has opposed moving to a defined-contribution plan (like a 401k), claiming it doesn’t provide a good retirement income. Yet numerous studies show that 401(k) plans can provide every bit as large a retirement benefit as a traditional pension. And many public sector employees would benefit from the greater flexibility of a 401(k) plan.

Now the PSEA and other unions have a new website claiming HB 2497 would “save” $3 billion. But it doesn’t, these savings are just like saving money by not paying your mortgage for a few months. And they claim the $3 billion in “savings” is TWICE what switching to a 401(k) for all new employees would save. Yet the estimate of cost-reductions for a new 401(k) plan is $13 billion over 30 years.

Only in PSEA-speak is $3 billion twice as big as $13 billion.