PERS cuts proposed: take action now

Posted by  Margaret Butler   in       Feb 28, 2017     1646 Views     Comments Off on PERS cuts proposed: take action now  

by Margaret Butler, Executive Director

As I’m sure you have heard in the media, there are many proposals floating in Salem to make changes to PERS. Senate Bills 559 and 560 were heard in the Senate on February 13th, and AAUP-Oregon President José Padín testified for us, along with many, many others from a wide range of organizations.  Read his testimony here. According to the PERS coalition, these bills are extreme, unfair, and illegal.

SB 559 proposes changing the way PERS calculates the final annual salary by using a five year average as opposed to the three year average currently utilized. This breaks the agreement made when our members where hired and reduces retirement benefits for current and future employees. The Oregon Supreme Court has said that benefits already earned cannot be taken away.

SB 560 would take 6% of salary away from the individual account program to pay for PERS fund investment losses. Again, this breaks the agreement made when our members were hired and in our collective bargaining agreements. SB 560 would also put a cap of $100,000 on the salary used to calculate retirement benefits, no matter what the retiree is actually making when they retire.

The state’s powerful business lobbyists and others are pushing state lawmakers to make these drastic cuts to PERS retirement benefits.

It’s essential that your state representative and senator hear from you today. They need to hear the other side of the story about how these cuts will affect you and your family.

Learn more and contact your lawmaker at

Tell your lawmaker what’s at stake:

  • We need to remind lawmakers that the Oregon Supreme Court has spoken: a deal is a deal. They cannot cut the benefits we have earned.
  • We also need to remind them about the staffing shortfalls that will come if these cuts are passed and we can no longer offer teachers, firefighters, nurses and other public employees a secure retirement.