LANSING (WWJ/AP) – The Michigan Senate has passed a bill that would end pensions for newly-hired public school workers and instead give them 401-k’s.

Republican lawmakers say the changes would reduce a $45 billion unfunded liability while critics of the measure say making the switch would mean billions in start-up costs.

Talking to WWJ Newsradio 950, American Federation of Teachers of Michigan President David Hecker said the proposed change would also mean an uncertain future for public school teachers and staff.

Many current and retired teachers say the proposed changes are unfair. The Coalition for Secure-Retirement-Michigan says the stateonstitution guarantees the state has to live up to its pension promises and a lawsuit is likely if the measure is enacted.

“It does not provide a secure retirement at all,” Hecker said. “And if we want to continue to attract the best and the brightest to the classroom, we shouldn’t be undercutting their retirement.”

School employees hired after July of 2013 would be affected.

The bill now goes to the Michigan House.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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