The Texas Public Employees Association experienced success at its very onset by securing passage of the constitutional amendment and accompanying statutes that created the Employees Retirement System in 1947.
TPEA’s advocacy on behalf of active and retired state employees is characterized by pragmatic proposals, creative problem solving and a clear, consistent vision of superior benefits and salaries that at least allow employees to maintain a comfortable lifestyle for themselves and their families.
Milestones Achieved through TPEA Proposals and Advocacy
Legislative creation of a uniform, statewide insurance program under ERS for active and retired state employees.
Regular pay raises, increased insurance contributions and pension funding sufficient to allow recurring annuity enhancements for retirees. Passage of a TPEA-promoted bill clarifying and authorizing state employee participation in political campaigns, albeit on their own time.
ERS insurance program expanded to include higher education employees and to incorporate current Point of Service health plan. Current state contribution policy (100 percent of the employee/retiree-only premium and 50 percent of the dependent premium) phased in. Regular raises for retirees and employees and improved pension formulas.
In the face of severe economic and stock market downturns (2001–2003 and 2008–2009), TPEA proposals helped the Legislature find the necessary monies to preserve the pension fund and its basic benefits while also allocating hundreds of millions in additional funding to offset insurance cost increases. Modest pay raises for active employees.
2013 & 2015
TPEA helped preserve the pension in its defined benefit model through significant, TPEA-proposed increases in state, employee and agency contributions to the ERS pension fund. These increases mitigated a growing move to either eliminate the existing guaranteed pension model or at least make significant cuts in the retirement benefits earned by employees. TPEA also offered suggestions and support to ERS in developing cost-containment strategies for insurance. Active employees received modest pay raises from the Legislature in deference to TPEA’s insistence on at least some cost-of-living increase while employees increased their portion of the pension funding.