Dear ORP Faculty, Chapter and Union Leaders,
The Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) bill (S. 1912) will be heard before the Public Service Committee on Tuesday, 10/4/11 in A-2, from 1 to 4 pm. Now is the time to lobby all legislators on this bill. Also important: Have your campus represented at the October 4th hearing and Lobby Day activities.
URGENT: Lobby Legislators this week to support S. 1912
Contact your Senator and your Representative this week: Ask them to support S. 1912. This bill will provide ORP faculty with an opportunity for an informed choice about state employee retirement options and an opportunity to transfer to the State Employees Retirement System if they so choose. If you are an ORP faculty, be sure to communicate your personal ORP story by email or on the phone with the legislator or office staff when you have that opportunity. See the attached talking points for further information. If you would like a document that lists the multiple orientation problems that many faculty faced, please contact me.
Ask Senators who support this bill to contact the Senate Chair of the Public Service Committee, Katherine Clark, to indicate they want S. 1912 moved out of this committee with a favorable recommendation.
Ask Representatives who support this bill to contact the House Chair of the Public Service Committee, John Scibak, to indicate they want S. 1912 moved out of this committee with a favorable recommendation.
To find out who your State Representative and State Senator are, go to: www.wheredoivotema.com
To send an email to your representative, go to: http://www.mass.gov/legis/memmenuh.htm
To send an email to your senator, go to: http://www.mass.gov/legis/memmenus.htm
To reach your legislator by phone, call the main State House number (617-722-200) and ask to be connected to your legislator.
Thank the following legislators, especially if they are yours, but also if this bill is important to you:
For sponsoring our ORP Bill:
Rep. Jay Kaufman: Jay.Kaufman@mahouse.gov or 616-722-2320)
Sen. Marc Pacheco: Marc.Pacheco@masenate.gov or 617-722-1551
For leading the fight on the Senate floor and behind the scenes to include the ORP amendment in the Senate pension bill:
Sen. Katherine Clark, Senate Chair of the Public Service Committee: Katherine.Clark@masenate.gov or 617-722-1206
For sponsoring the ORP amendment to the Senate Pension bill:
Sen. Michael Rodrigues (lead sponsor): Michael.Rodrigues@masenate.gov or 617-722-1114
Sen. Stan Rosenberg (co-sponsor): Stan.Rosenberg@masenate.gov or 617-722-153
Sen. Ben Downing (co-sponsor): Benjamin.Downing@masenate.gov or 617-722-1625
Your Senator if you know s/he signed on to this amendment
For supporting the ORP amendment in the final version of the Senate pension bill:
Senate President, Therese Murray: Therese.Murray@masenate.gov or 617-722-1500
NOTE: In talking with Senators on the ORP bill, if any of them are among those who supported the MTA and other unions by voting against the pension bill because of its negative effect on future employees, please thank them:
“Sens. DiDomenico, Donnelly, Eldrige, Fargo, Jehlen, Keenan, McGee, Timilty, Tolman, and Wolf voted against the bill. Sen. Pacheco was unable to attend but able to pair his vote with another Senator’s to register his opposition to this bill.
ORP Hearing and Lobby Day: October 4 at the State House
The Joint Committee on Public Service will hear S. 1912, on October 4, 2011, between 1 and 4 pm in Room A-2. Panels representing the MCCC (and others from the State University and UMass systems) will provide supporting testimony. The ORP Ad Hoc Committee (with MTA support) has reserved Room 437, from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm, for lobbying activities. Morning beverages will be available for those who plan to lobby before the hearing, and lobbying materials will be distributed. Lunch will be served to those who register their attendance in advance, and a short luncheon speaking program will begin at noon, with invited guests from the legislature and MTA leadership.
Background and what’s next:
Though the ORP bill (S, 1912) was included as an amendment to the recently passed Senate bill on pension reform, the House pension bill has not been written and is not expected to be heard before the House chamber until after this hearing. The Public Service Committee hearing will allow the bill to be fully vetted and will further educate the House and Senate members on the merits of the bill. When the House puts together its pension bill, the ORP Ad Hoc committee will push to have the ORP bill included as part of any pension reform. This would address the problems related to current ORP faculty and the bleak retirement future that many of them face. If the House puts forward a pension package without S. 1912 and the omission is not addressed in any pension bill that is enacted, the ORP bill will follow the typical journey of a State House bill. Being vetted and passed favorably by the Public Service Committee is the first leg of that journey.
Campus educating and organizing:
Knowing who on your campus is enrolled in the ORP is vital to the grassroots organizing of our ORP campaign. You will need to know who is in the ORP to activate your campuses to support this bill at the various stages in its legislative journey.
Campus Lists of ORP-enrolled faculty have been distributed to at least one member on most MCCC and MTA campuses. These lists are not complete, nor totally accurate, but they do represent either faculty from the MTA ORP survey who had expressed an interest in the passage of this bill or MCCC members from four years ago who were actively enrolled in the ORP program. If more recent enrollment lists have been provided, please use these. Contact me if your campus needs this information.
ORP Transfer Costs – Buyback Calculations Sheets:
With regard to the costs related to transferring from the ORP to the State Retirement System, sample buyback cost sheets were distributed to ORP Committee members at last week’s meeting, so most campuses are aware of them. When compared to the State Retirement Percentage Chart benefits, these sheets are helpful in educating and mobilizing ORP faculty to support this bill. Note that before any members elect to transfer, the cost of that transfer would be clarified.
Thank you for your support on this bill. Your actions today could make a real difference in the retirement security of ORP faculty across this state. At least 1/3 of our MCCC faculty are enrolled in the ORP. Hundreds of ORP faculty at the State Universities and UMass are also interested in the passage of this bill. Our actions today could mean a chance for real retirement security for these members tomorrow.
Diana (Donnie) McGee
MCCC Vice President & SAC Chair
MTA Director & HELC Vice Chair