We hope you are enjoying your well-deserved retirement from the state; but retiring from state service doesn’t mean you’re on easy street. Today, it’s more important than ever for retirees to get active in the Texas State Employees Union to protect our health care benefits, win a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), and to protect the integrity of our pension fund.
As most of you already know, the state does not provide automatic cost-of-living raises for either active or retired state employees. Because of that, retiree pensions have not increased since 2001. During the same time, the cost of living has increased by more than 26%.
The only way for retirees to get pension increases is to convince lawmakers to provide more money for the pension fund. ERS must be 100% actuarially sound before the retirees can receive a COLA. In order for this to happen, we need a large contingent of retirees who belong to TSEU, who can bring organized pressure to legislators to fully fund our pension. This last legislative session, TSEU retiree members successfully pushed lawmakers to put more money into ERS by raising the state’s contribution to the fund to 7.5% of active employee pay. This is its highest level since 1985, bringing us that much closer to winning a COLA for ERS retirees. We have to keep pushing on this issue.
In addition to a monthly pension, you will continue to receive the same healthcare coverage that you had as an active duty employee. It is now being stated that our health care benefits are not guaranteed, even though many of us were promised that they would be when we started our careers in state service. During the last session of the Legislature, attempts were made to diminish our healthcare benefit. TSEU defeated these attempts and preserved our comprehensive healthcare coverage.
But the same people who tried to reduce our healthcare benefit will try again in the current legislative session. Some lawmakers have already discussed making retirees pay more for their health care. The threat is real and only a determined effort by retired and active state employees will stop it. TSEU will be there to push back and we need your help.
You can stay active in TSEU by joining our Retirees Organizing Committee (ROC as we call it) by completing one of the membership forms
- ERS annuity deduction form – This allows ERS to deduct dues from an annuity
- TSEU BankDraft form – Authorizes TSEU to draft your dues from a bank account
Return the form to the Austin TSEU office (1700 South 1st Street, Austin, Texas 78704). This will authorize your dues ($9 per month) to be deducted from your monthly pension annuity OR a bank draft for your dues. If you have questions or need more information, contact our main office in Austin (512.448.4225) or your local TSEU office.