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Still Staying Involved

OEA-Retired celebrates 35 years of continuing to make a difference in public education

By Ray Johnson | OEA Retired

With OEA providing much assistance, five Oregon retired educators formed NEA-Retired-Oregon—name changed to OEA-retired in 2009—in November of 1985. Consequently, even with COVID-19 continuing to wreak havoc on its usual group activities, OEA-Retired will be spending part of this year celebrating its formation 35 years ago.

To guide the new organization, Bylaws were adopted that aim to benefit its members and public education, by supporting these key priorities:

  • State and national legislation and activities designed to maintain and guarantee such retirement programs as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Public Employees Retirement System.
  • Legislation and activities that support children and public education at local, state, and national levels.
  • Activities and social programs that contribute to the enjoyment of living and participation with others.

Over the years, as the number of its members increased, full representation in OEA was granted that included delegates at Representative Assembly, a retired director position on the OEA Board, a position on the Legislative Advisory Council and appointments to many other committees and task forces.

One of its proudest achievements over the years has been an amazing book-collection activity that has resulted in more than 16,000 books being given to school-age children. Even active OEA members have assisted in this endeavor.

OEA-Retired has been engaged many times over several years with several attempts by the state legislature to change PERS benefits, including the resultant court cases. One OEA-Retired member was even a plaintiff in one case. Eventually, the state Supreme Court has ruled every time that received benefits are a contract and cannot be changed once a person retires.

The retirees’ group was heavily involved in the recent successful passage of the Student Success Act by the state legislature in 2019. Members participated in rallies, phone calling, letter writing, lobbying and much more to help achieve this legislation.

The group sponsors regional activities scattered around the state that include coffees, monthly luncheons, not-back-to-school picnics in the fall, tours, speakers, etc., the formation of local chapters and an annual Fall Conference and spring Annual Assembly. Starting in 2011 in partnership with a travel agency, a tour program has been beefed up from one tour a year to now sponsoring four—two in North America and two internationally.

The motto of OEA-Retired—Stay Involved. Stay Invigorated. Stay In Touch—was adopted in 2011 and guides the officers and the 50-member Board of Directors in its deliberations.

So as not to lose information about OEA-Retired, its history was first published in 2000 that covered the first 17 years. A History Task Force was formed in the Fall of 2016 to bring the history up-to-date. After extensive research into the files of OEA-Retired, including numerous minutes, letters, and newsletters, and additional information provided by former OEA-Retired presidents, the Task Force wrote an updated history. This 2020 version is kept updated each year with an addendum, and a new 20-page booklet will be published to help celebrate the 35th anniversary.

Since its inception, OEA-Retired has been affiliated with its parent organizations, National Education Association-Retired, OEA and NEA.

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