Public Employees Deserve a Secure Retirement
On Monday, May20th, Governor Brown signed the Student Success Act into law, creating the promise of $1 billion a year of much-needed additional funding for schools. This is great news. However, while educators have been working for years to increase funding for our students, our legislature is working on a bill that would diminish our retirement plans. This is unacceptable.
SB 1049 proposes to take money that is supposed to go into your individual retirement account (your IAP) and instead put it into a general fund, resulting in a reduction of benefits between 7.8% and 12.5% for public employees earning more than $30 thousand a year. This bill is currently in committee, and is expected to be on floor for a vote next week.
We have a short timeline to make sure our lawmakers in both the houses hear from us, demanding that they defend PERS. For the reason, we urge you to get educated about how PERS works and what this plan would do, and then take action to stop it.
1. If you can, attend the Rally to Protect PERS on the Capitol steps in Salem, Wednesday, May 22, starting at 2 pm. Obviously, holding a rally during the day makes it tricky to attend, and OEA is NOT calling for a work stoppage. DO NOT USE SICK LEAVE TO ATTEND THE RALLY. PAT can approve union leave (for a half-day-- pm) for a limited number of members to attend. Fill out this form if you would like to use union leave to go. We will notify the first 30 people who sign up that they are approved. Please don’t take the afternoon as “union leave” unless we notify you after you have completed the form.
2. Email your lawmaker using this quick tool: https://keeporegonspromise.org/email-your-lawmaker/
3. CALL your House Representative (and State Senator too, if you have time). Phone calls are more powerful than emails. Important messages to share are included below. Find lawmaker phone numbers here: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/findyourlegislator/leg-districts.html
“Oregon educators already earn 22% per week less than we would in the private sector. We show up every day and do our job and now you want to pull the rug out from under us and break the promise of a secure retirement. It isn’t fair to make us pay the same into our retirement but reduce our benefit. You cannot improve schools by cutting teacher compensation even further. Please vote NO on SB 1049 and any cuts to PERS benefits.”
4. Share on Facebook and tag your lawmaker (find their facebook page > when writing your post, type “@” and then the first few letters of their Facebook page name to tag):
"I work hard for my students and for my retirement benefits. Oregon educators already earn 22% per week less than we would in the private sector. Lawmakers should vote NO on Senate Bill 1049. You can’t improve schools by losing educators, and that’s exactly what would happen if this bill passes. @Senator XX XXX and @Representative XXX XXXXX."
Resources for Understanding PERS and SB 1049