The Retired Public Employees Council of Washington (RPEC) was formed in 1971 as an organization to promote the interests of retired state, county, city, and local government employees. RPEC was formally incorporated in July 1978, under the laws of the state of Washington as a non-profit corporation, to operate for charitable, social, and educational purposes.
In September 1979, RPEC affiliated with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME, AFL-CIO). We also are affiliated with the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC).
RPEC is a member of many outside nonprofit organizations with whom we share a community of interest such as the Alliance for Retired Americans, the Washington Senior Citizens’ Lobby and Public Employees for Pension Responsibility (PEPR), a coalition of organizations representing active employees and retirees who belong to the Washington State Retirement Systems.
RPEC currently has 30 Chapters that operate within nine Districts for purposes of governing at the statewide level. Our membership is over 11,000 strong.
Purpose: (Mission Statement)
Our mission is to unite retired public employees for their mutual benefit and welfare. We do this by promoting legislation to improve financial and medical benefits, providing information to and otherwise supporting members, and working closely with other organizations.
The Retired Public Employees Council of Washington is the only organization dedicated solely to the issues directly affecting PERS retirees.
RPEC is a dynamic organization which is taking the necessary steps to reach its great potential. The organization is highly respected both as a political force and as a recognized leader in retiree issues, not only with our elected officials but with other active and retired employee organizations as well.
In large part due to RPEC’s efforts, the Legislature:
- Passed a law giving political subdivision retirees the right to participate in their employers’ health care plans.
- Secured the adoption of the Uniform Plan I COLA in 1995.
- Committed to fully funding the retirement systems.
- Added a retiree member to the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) which oversees the state’s health insurance plans.
In 1998, RPEC won a settlement to a lawsuit against the State of Washington worth $42.5 million. The state had overcharged some retirees for their health care premiums. Money was returned to eligible retirees. Appointment of an RPEC member to the Select Committee on Pension Policy.
What do we do?
Among other things:
- On behalf of our members, we track legislation on pensions, health care and other areas critical to retirees. We propose legislation to assist retirees and oppose bills which may harm them.
- We pursue legal actions when necessary, maintain a legislative hotline during the session and issue a quarterly newsletter to keep our members informed and up-to-date.
Our Current Focus:
- Be aggressive in maintaining and improving the financial integrity of the State retirement system by:
- Supporting full funding of employer contribution rates to pension plans as recommended by the State Actuary
- Opposing efforts to create any new retirement plans for public employees that diminish benefit levels and/or compromise retirement security
- Supporting only those modifications to retirement plans that do not threaten the financial integrity of the retirement system
- Continuing efforts to strengthen the role of active and retired DRS members in DRS governance
- Restoration of a permanent Plan 1 COLA
- Support legislation that would propose an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Washington – through the mechanism of the State Legislature to insure the integrity of public pensions as enforceable contracts
- Ensure affordable PEBB Medicare benefit by increasing the state’s contribution to 50% of premium, push PEBB to contain cost increases to participants, and retain federal matching funds
- Support legislation to create an automatic default into PERS Plan 2 for new employees
- Protect and Expand Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid
- We have a five person staff who are headquartered out of our Olympia office, and are available to assist members Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.
- Our local chapters meet regularly where members share common interests and camaraderie.
- Our statewide Executive Board is composed of retirees and meets on a quarterly basis.
- Our AFSCME affiliation offers over a dozen benefits available to members, including free legal service, dental and hearing aid benefits, free college tuition and many other special offers.