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CalPERS Member-At-Large Election Results – ACSS-Endorsed Candidates Win!

Posted: 10/1/2021 Tags: benefits election retirement Tags Views: 123

David Miller and Jose Luis Pacheco have been declared the unofficial election winners for the two Member-at-Large seats on the CalPERS Board of Administration. ACSS has continually supported these candidates and thanks ACSS members who voted in the CalPERS election in support of Miller and Pacheco.

Miller received 72.6% of the votes cast for Position A and Pacheco received 61.7% for Position B. The four-year term of office begins January 16, 2022, and concludes on January 15, 2026. The 13-member CalPERS Board sets policy for retirement and health benefits on behalf of California public employers, and their active and retired employees. The board also oversees asset allocation of the pension fund's investments.

We are pleased with these results and we are confident that these candidates will work hard to protect your rightful pension and retirement benefits in the future.


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Vote Now in the CalPERS Board of Administration Member-at-Large Election!

Posted: 8/31/2021 Tags: benefits election pension retirement Tags Views: 306

ACSS endorses David Miller and Jose Luis Pacheco for CalPERS Board Seat A and Seat B, respectively, in the 2021 CalPERS Board of Administration Member-at-Large Election.

David Miller, a leader in the California Association of Professional Scientists (CAPS –Bargaining Unit 10), promises to protect pensions, maximize investment returns, improve health care benefits, and restore integrity for the voice of all CalPERS members.

Jose Luis Pacheco has a long history of union member involvement and currently serves as Chapter President of CSEA Chapter 363 in San Jose. Pacheco strongly supports the labor movement, and wants to protect defined benefits and healthcare to allow state workers to retire with rightful security and dignity.

Voting is now open! Ballots for the Election were mailed to eligible voters on August 27, 2021, and will arrive in your mailbox in a blue envelope. Inside the blue envelope you will find three items:

  • Your Candidate Statement Voter Pamphlet – which provides information about the candidates and how to vote. The how-to-vote information is especially important if you haven’t tried the latest online and telephone voting options. These options allow you to cast your vote in seconds from anywhere.
  • Your ballot card – that includes a detachable paper ballot and unique Personal Identification Number (PIN) that you will need if you are voting online or by phone.
  • A return envelope – if you are voting by mail, use the detachable paper ballot in your blue envelope, place your completed ballot in the postage-paid return envelope, sign the perjury statement on the back of the return envelope, and drop it in the U.S. mail. All paper ballots must be received by September 27 to be counted.

The voting period is August 27 through September 27. Your vote must be received by mail, telephone, or online by 11:59 p.m. PST on September 27, or it won't be counted. If you mail your ballot, don’t forget to sign the ballot.

If you do not receive your ballot by September 3 or need a replacement ballot, please call 877-610-8637.

ACSS supports these candidates and we encourage you to cast your vote in the CalPERS Board of Administration Member-at-Large Election.


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CalPERS Member Education Opportunity - June 16

Posted: 6/1/2021 Tags: benefits retirement Tags Views: 675

Learn About Working After Retirement

CalPERS will host a 15-minute "Working After Retirement" webinar on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at 11:00 a.m.

Once you retire, you can return to work for a CalPERS-covered employer as a retired annuitant, but there are some restrictions. In the webinar, CalPERS will discuss what you need to know if you return to work as a retired annuitant.

To register, select the View Calendar link on the CalPERS Member Education page.


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CalPERS Member Education Webinar - Understanding Your Retirement Benefit Options

Posted: 2/3/2021 Tags: benefits retirement Tags Views: 1260

CalPERS Member Education Webinar
Understanding Your Retirement Benefit Options

The retirement payment option you choose is one of the most important decisions you'll make when you retire. We encourage you to join CalPERS for this informative webinar to learn about the different payment options available to you and your beneficiaries.

Date: February 10, 2021
Place: Online
Time: 11:00-11:30 a.m.
Registration: Free

To register, select the Calendar link on CalPERS Member Education page.


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Paychecks and a California Supreme Court Pension Ruling

Posted: 7/31/2020 Tags: benefits legislation pension policy representation retirement salary Tags Views: 2881

Pay Warrants

Not all of the July 1, 2020 adjustments and increases have made it into state employee pay warrants. Excluded employees related to the SEIU bargaining units (1, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15, 17, 20 and 21) will see the $260 health affordability payment in a separate pay warrant, which appears to be on track to issue within approximately two weeks.

As expected, the pay warrants of excluded employees related to IUOE units 12 and 13 contain the “OPEB/CERBT” deduction for prefunding retiree healthcare. We await the pay letter and differential providing pay to offset this deduction. ACSS also expects implementation of a special salary adjustment for employees in the criminalist series and an adjustment to longevity pay for some S07 and M07 excluded employees.

An error at the State Controller’s Office resulted in too little being withheld from July paychecks for the employee portion of the required contribution toward retirement. The amount of the error varies based on salary, but is estimated to be near $100 for the highest earners and less for other employees. Next month’s paychecks will have the correct amount deducted for retirement. Next month will also include an additional one time employee deduction labeled as “*PERS ADJ” to collect the rest of the July employee retirement contribution. This means that state employees will not likely see the “correct” amount of their take home pay checks until the September pay period.

There are a very small number of ACSS members who were excluded by CalHR from expected special salary adjustments. ACSS will continue to work with CalHR to address these exclusions and other issues arising in connection with salary adjustments.

Pension Ruling Preserves the Core of the “California Rule”

The California Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling on July 30, 2020 in Alameda County Deputy Sheriff's Association v. Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association. This significant pension case concerned pension cuts for local public employees following the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA) where overtime, callback and vacation pay were eliminated from pension calculations.

Although it is a local pension case, the legal issues concerned the long standing “California Rule.” Since 1955, the courts have held under the California Rule that once pension benefits are granted to a public employee, they are vested and cannot be modified for the duration of an employee’s career.

ACSS joined in the requests for the high court to hear this pension case to preserve the long-standing California Rule to protect from the possibility of your pension being changed by future legislation or through an initiative measure. With this California Supreme Court ruling, that goal was largely accomplished.

Although the court allowed the pension modifications challenged by the local unions, it did so by finding the changes closed loopholes to eliminate pension spiking. This narrow approach rejected the arguments to rescind or modify the California Rule and broadly allow changes to vested pension rights.

The ruling may present an opportunity for narrow pension modifications, but any modifications still have to meet stringent constitutional standards protected by the contracts clause. In short, the core defined benefit formulas and provisions governing state employee pensions and retirement calculations remain protected and unaffected by this decision.


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Excluded Employee Compensation Plan for 2020-2021


The Department of Human Resources (CalHR) has released the outline of the excluded employee pay plan for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. We are pleased that the outline contains most of the items ACSS has advocated for in light of the Administration’s mandated state employee compensation decreases due to the large state budget deficits related to the ongoing pandemic.

The exempt and excluded pay plan effective July 1, 2020 includes:

  • Two day-per month Personal Leave Program (PLP) reducing compensation by 9.23% and providing 16 hours of leave credit per month. The PLP credit will not need to be used in the month it is accrued, but taken before other paid leave (except sick leave).
  • Suspending employee payments to pre-fund retiree health care. The deduction is shown on your pay warrant as “OPEB/CERBT”. The deductions for employees related to units 12 and 13 will continue, but be offset by a pay differential.
  • General Salary Increases are suspended.
  • Special Salary Adjustments and Pay Differentials will be extended to exempt and excluded employees where appropriate.
  • All employees related to the nine SEIU Local 1000 bargaining units (1, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15, 17, 20, and 21) will receive a $260 per month taxable cash benefit to offset health care costs.
  • The Vacation/Annual Leave Cap is increased by the amount of the PLP accrued for excluded employees related to bargaining units 2, 9, 10 and 19.

CalHR is working on pay letters to implement the details of the leave program and special salary and pay differential adjustments. CalHR expects to issue a series of pay letters “in the coming weeks” and has informed ACSS they are working with the State Controller’s Office to try to implement the majority of the salary adjustments in the July pay period.

As the pay letters are developed, ACSS will continue advocacy with CalHR to ensure excluded employees receive all appropriate special salary adjustments and pay differentials and will keep you informed regarding the expected timing of the pay adjustments.


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California Supreme Court Hears Argument in Local Pension Case

Posted: 5/5/2020 Tags: benefits legislation pension policy retirement Tags Views: 1596

The California Supreme Court held oral argument on May 5, 2020 in Alameda County Deputy Sheriff's Association v. Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association. This is one of the two significant pension cases pending before the state high court concerning pension cuts for local public employees following the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA).

Although it is a local pension case, the legal issues argued may impact the long standing “California Rule.” Since 1955, the courts have held under the California Rule that once pension benefits are granted to a public employee, they are vested and cannot be modified for the duration of an employee’s career. ACSS joined in the requests for the high court to hear these types of pension cases to preserve the long-standing California Rule to protect from the possibility of your pension being changed by future legislation or through an initiative measure.

In Alameda, the Deputy Sheriff's union and others challenged the elimination of overtime pay, on-call pay, call-back pay, vacation and sick leave sold back, recruitment bonuses, and other items from pension calculations. The lower appellate court had ruled that many of these pension cuts for current employees were legal, but ruled some pension benefits required further review under the California Rule. Allowing the pension reductions for current employees is a significant deviation from the California Rule. Both sides had asked the high court to review the case.

At oral argument, the county retirement boards argued that including these “pension spiking” items in a pension calculation was never lawful and that employees had no reasonable expectation that they would be included in a pension calculation for future service. The unions argued that this deferred compensation cannot be changed for existing employees during their public employee careers.

It is unclear whether the Supreme Court’s decision in this case will be decided on broad constitutional grounds with possible impacts on the California Rule and implications for all public employees and their pensions, or will be decided on a narrow basis, affecting only the parties to the litigation or local employers and employees. The matter was taken under submission with a decision expected in the next month or two.

ACSS will continue to keep you apprised of important pension issues and inform you of actions taken to protect the interests of excluded state employees.


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Many Excluded Employees will see smaller paychecks as OPEB Deductions increase, ACSS takes action

Posted: 8/28/2019 Tags: benefits legislation policy retirement salary Tags Views: 6500

ACSS has been affirmatively taking action advocating for our members’ interests on OPEB deductions and General Salary Increases this year. As always, we represent the voice of Managers, Supervisors and Confidential State Employees and we strive to obtain fair wages and working conditions.

Although raises for many excluded employees were effective with last month’s pay warrants, the increased Other-Post Employment Benefit (OPEB) deductions will take effect with the August pay period. Your OPEB contribution is listed on your pay stub as “CERBT”, which stands for California Employers’ Retiree Benefit Trust.

Your contribution as a percentage of salary is matched with a state employer contribution. The purpose is to reduce the “unfunded liability” for retiree health care to ensure that your valuable earned health benefits will be available when you retire.

The following chart showing the legislatively approved contribution rate increases for OPEB and CalHR approved increases for exempt and excluded employees not related to a specific bargaining unit:

OPEB INCREASES for EXCLUDED
EMPLOYEES Effective August 2019
 Percentage Increase
 1, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15,
17, 20, 21 (SEIU Units)
 1.1%
 2  0.7%
 6  N/A 
 7  1.3%
 8  1.4%
 9  1%
 10  1.4%
 12  1%
 13  1.3%
 16  N/A
 18  1.4%
 19  1%
 Exempt and excluded employees not
directly tied to a BU (E48, E97, E98, E99)
 0.8%

Not all excluded employee salaries increased on July 1, 2019. State Bargaining Units 2 and 18 have not reached new labor contracts. ACSS President Todd D’Braunstein has urged CalHR to provide a General Salary Increase to supervisors, managers and excluded employees related to these units. Click here to read President D’Braunstein’s letter to CalHR. ACSS has been proactive in the fight for fair and appropriate wages on behalf of these excluded employees.

Excluded employees related to state Bargaining Units 9 and 10, will also see a temporary one-half percent increase in the employee pension retirement contribution. The Unit 9 increase will be for this fiscal year only and the Unit 10 increase will be for two years. A one-half percent increase for excluded employees related to Unit 16 will take affect this paycheck and thereafter.

ACSS will continue to stand up for your rights while communicating and working with the Administration. As we receive new information, we will continue to keep you informed on these important issues.

>> Click here to read details of the OPEB provisions.

>> Click here to read OBEB FAQ's from CalHR.


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CalPERS Benefits Education Event in Costa Mesa - Aug. 9 and 10

Posted: 8/1/2019 Tags: benefits retirement Tags Views: 1556

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) is hosting a two-day CalPERS Benefits Education Event (CBEE) in Costa Mesa to inform members in a 5-county area about programs and benefits available to them. This event will take place at the Hilton Orange County on Friday, August 9, and Saturday, August 10, 2019. The same program is offered on each day, so attendees can select the day they wish to attend.

Whether new to CalPERS, in mid-career, or close to retirement, CBEEs offer all CalPERS members a wealth of information about their retirement and health benefits, supplemental savings plans, long-term care coverage, and more. Representatives from CalPERS Regional Offices will be on hand to answer questions.

Open both Friday and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., the event features breakout sessions specific to both early through mid-career members, and those nearing retirement. Topics to be covered include CalPERS retirement benefits, CalPERS health benefits, and deferred compensation.

Click here for more information and to register for this event


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CalPERS Benefits Education Event in Garden Grove

Posted: 8/3/2018 Tags: events retirement Tags Views: 1551

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) is hosting a two-day CalPERS Benefits Education Event (CBEE) in Garden Grove to inform members about programs and benefits available to them. This event will take place at the Hyatt Regency Orange County on Friday, August 24, and Saturday, August 25, 2018 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m..

Whether new to CalPERS, in mid-career, or close to retirement, CBEEs offer all CalPERS members a wealth of information about their retirement and health benefits, supplemental savings plans, long-term care coverage, and more. Representatives from CalPERS Regional Offices will be on hand to answer questions. The event features breakout sessions specific to both early through mid-career members, and those nearing retirement. Topics to be covered include CalPERS retirement benefits, CalPERS health benefits, and deferred compensation.

For more information and to register, visit CalPERS Benefits Education Events.


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