Fixing Tier Six is Focus of NYSUT Summer Training

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Special thanks to Debbie Montana and Ronnie Avnet Stoll for their contributions to this article

On August 15, NYSUT offered a workshop entitled, “Fix Tier Six” at the NYSUT Nassau Regional Office in Woodbury. The workshop was part of a summer-long push by NYSUT to spread information and gather momentum about a campaign to address serious inequities amongst members in different tiers of our state pension system.

Photo above: LUT and LRT members at NYSUT “Fix Tier Six” workshop. From L to R: Mirna Jewels, Lisa Wenz, Debbie Montana and Ronnie Avnet Stoll.

Several presenters spoke at the workshop, covering different aspects of the push to fix Tier Six. The first presenter was trustee of the New York State Teachers Retirement System (NYSTRS) board, Eric Iberger. Iberger spoke about the history of our pension system and showed comparisons between the contribution requirements and benefits available to those in Tiers 4, 5 and 6 of our pension system.

Tier 5 of the state teacher retirement system was in effect for teachers who started their pension system contributions on or after January 1, 2010. This Tier lasted until Tier 6 was enacted by state law and put into effect for teachers who started making pension system contributions on or after April 4, 2012. You can see a full description of the differences between the tiers in the graphic below.

Next to present at the workshop was NYSUT Regional Political Organizer, Jeremy Parkin. Jeremy spoke about the ways all of us can support the Fixing Tier Six campaign and effect positive change on this issue.

The last presenters were NYSUT Labor Relations Specialists Christine Sarni and Jessie Leiken and NYSUT attorney, Shinika Hunter. These presenters spoke about campaign strategies to fix Tier 6 and laid out NYSUT’s overall strategy to achieve incremental goals on route to getting Tiers 5 and 6 as close to Tier 4 as possible. As an example of incremental goals, the presenters referenced a change made in 2022 to the state teacher retirement system that allowed tier 5 and 6 members to be vested in the retirement system – meaning they will receive a minimum pension benefit – after 5 years instead of 10.  

In comments she made about the NYSUT workshop, Co-President of the Levittown Retired Teachers, Ronnie Avnet Stoll, said, “If our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, or friend’s kids decide they want to be a teacher, we might be telling them that the pension system is no longer the way it ‘used to be’ and to look for another career. Tier Six doesn’t incentivize professionals to enter, or to stay in the field we all love(d) so much.”

“Fixing [Tier Six] is about standing with these teachers,” Avnet Stoll said. “We need to show solidarity, fairness, and dignity. We don’t want to see a teacher shortage.”

To learn more about the NYSUT Fix Tier Six advocacy campaign, go to:

To sign up for updates and learn how you can get involved in the mission to Fix Tier 6, go to:

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