Oregon legislators who voted to cut Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) benefits—and the governor who signed the bill into law—won’t be invited to appear on stage with other politicians at this year’s Labor Day picnic at Oaks Park in Portland.
The picnic is sponsored by the Northwest Oregon Labor Council and draws thousands of union members and their families to the park.
In the recently-concluded session of the Oregon Legislature, lawmakers narrowly passed Senate Bill 1049, a bill said to help shore up the retirement system’s finances. However, it also results in a loss of between 7 to 12.5% in workers’ individual retirement accounts.
Democrats hold super-majorities in both the House and Senate, and Governor Kate Brown is a Democrat. Under extreme pressure from Democratic leadership, the bill passed by one vote in both the House and Senate. The ‘aye’ votes were cast by union-endorsed candidates, many of whom promised on the campaign trail not to cut PERS benefits. The governor promised as well.
In the wake of that vote, delegates to the Northwest Oregon Labor Council passed a motion July 22 to not invite any of those lawmakers on stage to speak during a special political event at 1 p.m. Several delegates at the monthly meeting argued that the politicians shouldn’t be invited to the picnic at all, but it didn’t have enough support to pass.