Published: August 6, 2020

This morning the Oregon Supreme Court denied our petition to overturn SB 1049, impacting public employee retirement benefits. 

Statement from SEIU 503 Executive Director Melissa Unger

This is a disappointing loss with real impacts on thousands of workers’ lives and future plans. We will continue to work with our PERS coalition partners to figure out our next steps. The court affirmed that benefits for years worked prior to SB 1049’s implementation are protected, as was the case when OPSRP and Tier 2 were created.

We also know, as we look at what’s ahead, that we must force the Legislature, the State, and our country to stop pitting public employees against the services we provide – once and for all. This is a false narrative that has been created by corporations that have been decimating the retirement of private sector workers for decades. Instead of cutting hard-earned benefits, we should be creating stable retirement options for all workers, including the caregivers SEIU represents that don’t have employer-paid retirement options. 

These cuts are an example of how the economy has not been working for working families, Black, white and brown, and why we must demand that as we rebuild from COVID we mustn’t allow our state or our country to return to normal, because that normal was working well for corporations and the wealthiest, but not for working people and their families. We must fight for an economy that actually works for all workers, including public employees. Instead of cutting retirement, we must fight for all people to have a strong retirement. Instead of constant attacks on collective bargaining rights, we must ensure all workers should have access to a union. 

Background on the legislation

Starting July 1, 2020, for people earning more than $2,500 a month, part of the 6% of salary that previously went into Individual Account Programs is diverted into a new account to lower employer costs for the PERS Unfunded Actuarial Liability (UAL). The amount diverted depends on tier level. 

OPSRP members lose .75% and Tier 1/Tier 2 members will 2.5%. Members will see no benefit from that diversion. 

SB 1049 also made changes to the final average salary which can be used to calculate pension benefits after January 1, 2020. 

Here are FAQs we prepared when SB 1049 was moving through the Legislature. Here’s a calculator that shows the difference the cut will make. 

PERS is complicated. For more information on your retirement plan, visit