Union Survey: Michigan Teachers Want Pension Reform

Only 12.2 percent of MEA members feel they will have a comfortable retirement

The Michigan Education Association recently released a survey of some of its membership. Much of it isn’t surprising — like other workers, teachers want to make more money and don’t like how they are evaluated.

But one key question is about retirement and shows that school employees don’t feel secure with the current teacher pension system.

The survey asks: “Do you feel that you’ll be able to comfortably retire?” Only 12.2 percent answered “yes,” while 52.2 percent said “no,” and 35.6 percent were unsure.

There is reason to be concerned. The teacher pension system, MPSERS, has nearly $27 billion in unfunded liabilities. Government pension systems across the state are underfunded and causing real cuts of government services.

The way to protect the retirements of teachers is to stop enrolling new employees into this underfunded system and give them 401(k)-type plans instead. This would allow workers more flexibility and control over their retirement, cap the current plan’s liabilities, force the state to start paying down the debt and prevent future underfunding.

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Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.