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ASRS Lawsuit 2011

AEA Members File Lawsuit Challenging Changes to ASRS
On July 14, 2011, the Arizona Education Association (AEA), American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) filed a lawsuit on behalf of seven plaintiffs, challenging a change in contribution amounts to the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS).

This last legislative session, state lawmakers enacted Senate Bill 1614 (S.B. 1614), which increased the employee contribution from 50 to 53 percent and decreased the employer contribution amount to ASRS from 50 to 47 percent.  After S.B. 1614, the over 200,000 public employees actively participating in ASRS must contribute 11.13 percent of their salary to ASRS on top of the furloughs and wage freezes they have already experienced. 

This lawsuit charges that this recent statutory amendment cannot be applied to employees who are already participating in ASRS because it violates the state constitution and contract law.  All of these employees accepted employment knowing they would pay for half of their retirement, but S.B. 1614 wrongly changes the terms of these existing employment contracts.

“Teachers and other education employees don’t come into the profession to get rich but to make the world better for students,” said Andrew F. Morrill, President of the Arizona Education Association.  “We build a secure community by taking on the responsibility of educating students across the state, one neighborhood school at a time.  It’s a responsibility that we accept gladly and take seriously.  We are asking the state to honor its contract with its employees and provide a fair level of security and independence after finishing a career of educating Arizona’s students.”

Plaintiffs Katie Barnes, Marilyn Calhoun, Kristi Frederickson, Marisol Garcia, Ralph Quintana, Jennie Stemm, and Joyce Willis in the lawsuit are active members of ASRS and are dedicated teachers, education support professionals, and project specialists for schools districts, state universities, and state agencies throughout Arizona.

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