Both CalSTRS and CalPERS have mechanisms in place to guard a
retiree’s defined benefit pension against eroding purchasing
power. The first is a cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, and the
second is a “floor” below which the buying power of a pension
cannot fall. Now thanks to a CFT-sponsored bill recently signed
by Governor Newsom, CalSTRS retirees from earlier decades will
see additional relief.
On August 16, 2021, Governor Newsom issued Executive
Order N-12-21 to provide additional flexibility to hire
retired K-12 teachers, community college faculty, and classified
staff during the COVID-19 State of Emergency.
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, CalPERS,
recently rattled the cages of the for-profit prison industry by
divesting nearly $10 million of stock in the country’s two
biggest private jailers.
The August sell-off came on the heels of the California State
Teachers Retirement System, CalSTRS, dropping its $12 million
investment in GEO Group and CoreCivic (formerly known as the
Corrections Corporation of America).
For years, people have been trying to attack pensions with ballot
propositions, said Doug Orr, an economics professor at City
College of San Francisco and the chair of the of the CFT
Retirement Policy Committee. Those propositions always go down in
defeat, Orr said, and now those attacks on pensions are coming to
The Legislature has begun public hearings to address a $71
billion funding gap in the pension system for K-14 teachers.
Without an increase in contributions, CalSTRS predicts its assets
will be depleted in about 30 years.
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed is mounting a major attack on
educators’ pensions. He has filed a voter initiative with the
Secretary of State and may start collecting signatures in early
2014 to qualify it for the November ballot.
Classified employees with questions about the new
Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 may find answers on
the Frequently Asked Questions page of the CalPERS website. Here
are some answers to common questions.
The new law requires that new employees of public schools and
community colleges contribute at least 50 percent of the total
normal cost or the same contribution rate as “similarly situated”
employees, whichever is higher.
A new law passed in the final hours of the legislative session
makes sweeping changes to public employee pensions that impose
most of the changes on workers not yet hired, creating a two-tier
system in the workplace where two groups of workers doing the
same work receive different retirement benefits.