MD Teachers’ Union Offers Pension Compromise

March 23, 2011

Maryland’s largest teachers’ union has offered their own pension compromise that that leaves large chunks of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposal unchanged.

The Maryland State Education Association, a 71,000 member union, would go along with O’Malley’s proposed higher contribution rate (5 percent to 7 percent), though the new rate would phase in over two years, according to a presentation MSEA emailed around Annapolis Wednesday.

They also accept O’Malley’s proposal to that new hires would have to work for 30 years before retiring.

The most meaningful difference is over the tricky area of average final compensation — the figure used to determine the size of they pension check: Teachers want it to be calculated as the average pay over their last three years. O’Malley’s plan would extend that time period to five years, diluting the final salary in most cases.

The union plan is tougher on younger employees than O’Malley’s: Those who are not currently vested would have to work for ten years in order to receive benefits, under the union plan. O’Malley said new hires would have to the ten years, but current employees could still vest in five.  

Pat Moran, president of the Maryland chapter of AFSCME, with said today that his union is largely supportive of the teachers idea.

The House of Delegates is expected to debate O’Malley’s pension plan this evening when the comb through the budget in an evening session that could stretch to midnight.

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