OSEA members lobby legislature for LED

About 150 OSEA members stormed the Oregon State Capitol on Monday, talking with lawmakers about important education issues and testifying on problems facing school employees.

OSEA’s Legislative Education Day (LED) is held every two years during the Oregon Legislature’s “long” sessions during odd-numbered years. This year attracted unprecedented interest among OSEA members.

In a year where the state budget faces painful cuts that could harm our students and our families, finding additional revenue and protecting our ability to retire with dignity were two top issues for members. OSEA members learned about the problems with proposed legislation that would attack the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), and the fact that OSEA members typically earn a very modest PERS benefit upon retirement. At one point, OSEA Government Relations Specialist Tyler Shipman noted that headline-grabbing, high-dollar payouts such as that provided to former Oregon football coach Mike Bellotti are very much the exception, rather than the rule.

Other pressing issues include minimizing workplace injuries. One bill would enact a study at the Oregon Department of Education to examine the problem and bring back proposed solutions. You can head here to watch the testimony or here to read our members’ written comments.

Throughout Monday and the preparation process on Sunday, elected officials stopped by our room at the capitol to offer thanks for educational employees’ contributions to our schools and provide information on their jobs and priorities. Speaking on Monday were Gov. Kate Brown, Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. On Sunday, Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney and Salem City Councilor Sally Cook offered words of gratitude and encouragement.

Photos from the two-day event can be found on our Flickr page.

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