After years of working you find yourself thinking about retirement. Whether you’re looking forward to spending more quality time with family and friends, picking up on projects, traveling, or being more involved in your community, we are your advocate for retirement security, including protection of Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and PERS benefits.
You may be concerned that your savings, Social Security or retirement benefits may not be enough. Perhaps you are also thinking about part-time or seasonal work to supplement your retirement income. Health insurance costs may be of special concern. You may also be thinking about the friendships and social connections work gives you.
Our members are advocates for retirees. We are part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) Advisory Council in Washington, DC, which informs the work of the Secretary of Labor and the employee benefits community, thereby influencing the retirement and health care security of 150 million Americans. We also lobby Oregon lawmakers on issues of interest and concern to our members.
Protect your retirement by continuing your union membership. Retire with five years of membership, join within 90 days of retiring, and you receive a $2500 life insurance policy. As of January 1, 2016, retiree dues are $60.00 a year. For retirees over the age of 75 they are $25.00 a year.
“We have informative regular meetings, count ballots for various internal elections, publish a retiree newsletter, write letters to politicians, fund raise for worthy community causes, represent our union at state and national retiree gatherings, run Local 001, attend General Council and much more. Join us in bringing attention to the issues important to us.”
—Mary Wood, Lincoln City Homecare Retiree
In 1992 members of SEIU Local 503, OPEU founded a Local union for retirees, so that we can maintain union membership in retirement. Our Retirees Local 001 serves as a way for us to stay connected with one another and to develop new friendships, share our experiences, stay politically active and serve our communities and maintain our union-member-only benefits provided by Local 503. Our retiree group meets regularly and we are especially active in lobbying for the issues that affect retirees, working families and organized labor. The union members who founded Local 001 had a vision of us helping to lead a grassroots movement for positive change – a real citizens’ movement focusing on quality of life issues – and having fun while doing it.
It’s fun being a union retiree!
The generation of State workers who led our strikes in 1987 and 1995 has either retired or is considering retirement. Some of the union members who struck at Parry Center in 2004 and many of the union members who supported them are also facing retirement. Homecare Local 99 founders are either retiring or reducing their hours. Members who have seen our union grow and helped us change are retiring.
Local 503 needs our experience and we need to focus on the issues we will face as retirees.
Some of our political priorities are
- Adequate staffing and oversight for nursing homes, home care and adult foster homes
- Winning affordable health care coverage for everyone
- Protecting Social Security
- Capping interest rates on predatory lending and protecting homeowners from insurance company rip-offs
- Stopping the privatization of public services
- Retirement Security for All
- Foreclosure Crisis in Oregon
- Medicare for All – Single Payer Health Care System
In order to win on these issues, we have had to take on the most powerful interests nationally and in Oregon. Union retirees bring to the political arena our compassion, our years of experience, and a special energy that comes from having participated in our union over time.
When we speak, we are heard.
At the heart of these activities is a shared desire to remain connected with our friends and co-workers, to enjoy our well-earned retirement and continued service to our communities.
Let’s say it again – it’s fun to be a union retiree!
Our Citizens Action for Political Education (CAPE) Committee has been one of our strongest means of building and using our political power.
Pay $50/year CAPE dues, and Oregon pays you back when you file your taxes – pay $100, get $100 back if filing jointly.
How will your retirement needs be met now and in the future?
Retirement in the United States is in crises. Many of us can feel the American Dream slipping away. Our ability as a nation to sustain our economy at a time when record numbers of workers are entering their retirement years should be an important part of our national debate. Retirement security for all should be a national priority. To accomplish that, we need to develop and propose innovative solutions.
First the facts:
- Until the 1980s pensions were common and workers knew that with Social Security, their own savings, including 401(k)s, and a pension, they could retire with dignity.
- Today, there’s somewhere between a $4-8 trillion retirement savings deficit.
- Over the next 10 to 15 years, the bulk of the 75 million baby boomers will be of retirement age – giving the U.S. the largest over-65 population in its history.
For the last 100 years public pensions have proven to be the most cost-effective vehicles for both taxpayers and pensioners to ensure a safe retirement. When properly funded by legislatures and employee contributions, these pensions are a model of how retirement policy can work at the national level.
The problem in Oregon is not that state workers have a decent pension. The real problem is that private sector workers don’t have any kind of retirement security, which makes us an attractive target for opponents of public workers.
Why does this matter? We believe retirement security for ALL Americans lies in a partnership between the public and private sectors. What works for some should work for all.
Join other 503 members and retirees in determining what our next steps will be and read about the Secure Choice Pension plan, or to get more involved in SEIU’s Retirement Security for All campaign, visit www.retirementsecurityforall.org.
SEIU 503 represents over 17,000 homecare providers and has consistently lobbied lawmakers to fully fund the essential services that allow seniors and people with disabilities to remain in their homes. Services like these are under attack and the legislature needs to hear from those who understand, all too clearly, what it’s like to face a future without our independence.
The Economics and Statistics Administration estimates that by the middle of the 21st Century there will be more people over the age of 65 than there will be school age.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the fastest growing segment of the population is the 85-plus group, many of whom have at least one chronic condition (arthritis, heart disease, cancer or diabetes). In-home care has become a critical component of providing a healthy and safe environment that promotes and maintains individual independence.
Although the majority of seniors don’t need 24-hour skilled nursing care, they may need varied levels of assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and mobility. Most want to remain in their homes and to postpone or avoid a stay at an extended care facility.
In-home care services are on average a fraction of the cost of a nursing home. Nursing home costs are understandably higher, as they offer more hours and a much more extensive level of care. So, for those who qualify for in-home care services, they can also be a low-cost alternative to extended care.
Long-Term Care Advisory
Oregon’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman is available free of charge to residents, families, facility staff and the public to help with concerns around quality of care or long-term care facility residents’ rights. The Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman responds to various concerns, including resident care, medications, billing, guardianship and care plans, among others. The program serves residents in nursing facilities; residential care facilities, assisted living facilities and adult foster homes.
For more information, contact the Oregon Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman directly at:
Improved Medicare for All – the real solution to the Health Care Crisis
Adoption of Single-Payer by Oregon voters is a goal we share with many other progressive organizations. Individuals and business would pay into a single fund, which pays for everything health related: hospitals, supplies, doctors, nurses, etc. The Plan is administered by a Single Government Health Agency, like Medicare. Everything remains privately run. Everyone receives the same coverage accepted by all providers, who are paid fairly according to negotiated rates.
SEIU 503’s Board of Directors has endorsed what is referred to as a “Medicare for All / Single Payer” health coverage system.
While the new federal law under the 2014 Affordable Care Act prohibits denial of coverage, profit driven health care remains. With no price caps and insurance mandated, premiums will rise. Those with pre-existing conditions will pay more. People who cannot afford higher premiums will either be under-insured or stuck with higher co-pays. And 23 million will be uninsured.
A single-payer system would bring real reform.
Can we afford to have Medicare for All?
Yes! In fact, we can’t afford not to. Our current system is bankrupting us. Health insurance premiums annually grow 4 times faster than wages. Roughly half of our health care money now goes to: 1) insurer profits, lobbying, executive compensation, marketing, eligibility screening, and bill collection; and 2) hospital and doctor overhead related to private insurance. This hurts competitiveness, forces job cuts, and lowers wages.
SEIU retirees have also endorsed Single-Payer in our efforts to support a more affordable and inclusive way to meet our current and future health care needs.
The Governor’s Commission on Senior Services is dedicated to enhancing and protecting the quality of life for all older Oregonians. Through cooperation with other organizations, they work to ensure that seniors have access to services that provide choice, independence and dignity.
Department of Human Services, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Seniors and People with Disabilities
Salem, OR 97301-1073
Phone: 503-945-5811 or 800-282-8096
Union members who maintain union membership into retirement retain their $2,500 free life insurance. This applies to those who are active members for the five years immediately prior to retirement and who join the Retirees Local within 90 days of separation from your represented employer. You are automatically enrolled when you become a member. SEIU 503 retirees are also eligible to participate in or purchase other benefits at discounted rates. Those benefits include:
- Legal Insurance
- Hartford Insurance Discounts
- Liberty Mutual Insurance Discounts
- ASPCA Pet Health Insurance
- Bright Now! Dental Discounts
- Motivano Smart Savings Online Discount Purchasing
- Oregon Prescription Drug Program (OPDP)
- Scholarships for Members and Family
- Elder Care Management with Addus Healthcare
- Automatic Membership in the Alliance for Retired Americans
- Savings on travel, cell phones and more
“These benefits make our retirement easier and more enjoyable. Union members have 90 days to sign up for these benefits after retiring.”
—John Hawkins, retiree from Linn Council of Government (LCOG)
To join the Retirees Local:
Contact SEIU 503 Membership at (503) 581-1505 or (800) 452-2146