OSEA won’t endorse legislators who voted for PERS reduction bill

The Oregon School Employees Association’s (OSEA) Board of Directors voted unanimously Oct. 4, not to endorse any legislator in the 2020 election cycle who voted to support Senate Bill 1049 in the last session of the Oregon Legislature.

SB 1049 made changes to the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), some of which resulted in dramatic reductions to the pensions that public employees will receive.

“PERS is a benefit that was promised to public employees, including OSEA members,” said OSEA President Lisa Gourley. “Many candidates campaigned on guarantees to protect our pensions during the 2018 election, only to vote to cut those same pensions the following spring. We rely on those pensions, and we will not forget this.”

OSEA represents about 20,000 public and private employees working in Oregon school districts, community colleges, education service districts, Head Start agencies, libraries, and park and recreation districts.

OSEA is part of Keep Oregon’s Promise, a coalition of organizations that is suing the state over portions of SB 1049, which are considered an unconstitutional breach of contract.

Earlier, Oregon AFSCME and the Oregon AFL-CIO took action to restrict contributions and support for legislators who voted for SB 1049. AFSCME represents  26,000 public employees.

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