Employee Retirement Package Stalled in House

By: Katie Kim Email
By: Katie Kim Email

Vote after vote, the House chamber could not come to an agreement.

"Currently, there have been 33 drafts," says Rep. Paul Opsommer, R-DeWitt, who voted against the bill.

Representatives took up their own version of the state employee retirement package on Wednesday -- a bill the senate already passed.

"The only difference was I removed the 3% contribution," says Rep. Mark Meadows, D-East Lansing, "I've said before that I think that's something that needs to be decided at the bargaining table if we're going to balance the budget."

So, Rep. Meadows says state employees would only be looking at a 1.6 multiplier. In total, it would save the state nearly $50 million. But some legislators in the house say that's not enough.

"The original senate version saved $800 million," says Opsommer. "And that's the kind of savings we need."

But Ray Holman of UAW Local 6000 says state employees will not stand for a paycut.

"We saved the state $750 million," says Holman. "Year after year, we've given concessions."

Holman says cutting salaries without consulting employees would be a breach of collective bargaining. He says the action will be challenged in court if it gets that far.

"We have done our part to help the state," Holman says.

All details aside, legislators say they're racing against the clock.

"We need to pass something to have an incentive to retire, to shrink the state force and to save money," says Rep. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. "The money simply isn't there to continue."

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  • by Anonymous on Sep 23, 2010 at 12:58 PM
    Why should they care about retirement, they don't care about the budget, peoples paychecks, why would they care about this.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 23, 2010 at 10:20 AM
    In today's world people in the private sector are just happy to keep their job with all their benefits, almost all the unemployed people would be happy to have a job with or without benefits. Lots of people in Michigan can’t even think about retiring anymore. I’m sorry state workers, but I’m going too agreed with the people in the comments. You people are worry about what’s how much money you get in your retirement package? I can see that, because today everybody is about themselves! Get all the money you can then move away from Michigan. Please I have just request. Please don’t rub our nose in it.
  • by Kelly Location: Lansing on Sep 23, 2010 at 08:12 AM
    These are our employees. They work for us! Why on earth are their wages, benefits, pension, etc. far superior to those of us working in the private sector (whose taxes pay for all of those government employees -- government employees who do not produce or create anything ... unless you count creating more regulations and beaurocracy simply to justify their existance). Mr. Holman and everyone who works for taxpayers better come to the realization that the few can no longer support the many.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 23, 2010 at 07:00 AM
    it amazes me, how they can sit there and talk about retirement pkgs for state workers, yet us common everyday folks have pretty much lost our retirement. And all the cuts they are making in this state, yet retirement is top priority?
  • by Ricardo Location: Lansing on Sep 23, 2010 at 06:48 AM
    With all due respect, ALL governmental "workers" are grossly over paid in todays economy A 3% reduction is chicken feed. In order to have any kind of effect onwages and benefit packages, a reduction of 40 to 50% is more in order. Wages and bennies are way out of wack compared to what the average Jane or Joe earns these days. The lawmakers need to get some "intestinal fortitude" and do what is necessary and right to bring these cost in line! Thank You Ricardo
  • by Lisa Location: GL on Sep 23, 2010 at 02:58 AM
    If this passes without a 3%, then it should be even more clear that it is not, and never was, acceptable to make educational employees pay 3% toward retirement health that they will never see. 3% was taken from school district employees regardless of how low their pay base already was -- not all districts have equal pay scales. Those left working in this state, and working for the people of this state, should not have to continue to lose money to pay for the errors of many.
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