Teachers Union Pension Problems Mount

National Education Association headquarters / Wikimedia Commons

National Education Association headquarters / Wikimedia Commons


The National Education Association (NEA) faces “staggering” pension problems due to years of unchecked benefits for its members, according to Hot Air:

The pension numbers are staggering, considering the number of employees/retirees involved must only amount to some several thousand. As of January 1, 2011, NEA had accumulated $644.7 million in pension liabilities, for which it had $556.3 million available. For that fiscal year, the union contributed $25.2 million to the staff retirement plan.

But those figures are a snapshot, and don’t account for some important facts. Staff salaries rise over time, and with them the amount of pension contributions and liabilities. NEA estimates that with projected staff salary increases, its pension payout obligations are almost $700 million.

State governments have learned that these liabilities go from a problem to a catastrophe when the number of contributors to the plan decreases while the number of beneficiaries increase. The parallel issue at NEA is the loss of members, leaving the union with less dues revenue to fund rising staff pension liabilities.