ORTA's mission is advocating for Ohio's active and retired educators!
Since the 1930s ORTA has been the voice for retired educators in Ohio. Our long history of advocacy on the part of STRS retirees is well documented; below are some highlights about our efforts at ORTA on behalf of the STRS retirees we represent.
ORTA served as the collection point for the 2021 Forensic Audit conducted by Edward Siedle. Mr. Siedle’s 128 report identified several major problems with STRS’s management of the pension system including its lack of transparency and high risk investments. This report also reported that STRS refuses to provide information on the costs paid to Wall St. investors in its alternative investment program.
Mr. Siedle’s report also triggered a ‘special audit’ of STRS by the Ohio Auditor of State Faber.
ORTA participated in the NRTA lobbying event in Washington, D.C. where we provided information to the Ohio Congressional Delegation on three pieces of legislation directed at reducing medication costs for senior citizens. ORTA also lobbied several Ohio congressional members in an effort to gain support for the repeal/modification of WEP/GPO laws that negatively impact STRS retirees.
PATHWAY TO COLA
ORTA has been a consistent voice for the establishment of a ‘Pathway to COLA’. This Pathway to COLA would provide for establishment of benchmarks or conditions that would be necessary for the return to increases in retirement benefits.
ORTA participates at Healthcare Pension Advocacy for STRS (HPA) meetings and has done so since HPA was established. Efforts by this committee resulted in STRS holding premiums for Medicare at the current level through. Additionally, HPA convinced STRS to retain the $29.90subsidy for Medicare recipients.
ORTA has been present at all meetings of the ORSC (Ohio Retirement Study Council) as this group of legislators meet to discuss legislation that impacts public pensions in Ohio.
ORTA has met with STRS Executives to work on COLA issues and concerns. These efforts continue as ORTA is present at all STRS Board meetings and offer comments to STRS Board members during the public comments portion of each month’s meeting.
ORTA continues to work with STRS (through the HPA) on ‘health care policy development’. This will shape the direction of health care provided by STRS for years in the future.
ORTA has met with local leaders in each of the 5 regions of Ohio (Northwest, Southwest, Central, Northeast, and Southeast) to develop leadership and outreach to all areas of the state.
ORTA publishes a monthly newsletter that is emailed to all members with an email on file and posts these newsletters on line at the ORTA website. In each newsletter legislative matters are discussed and or published, helping to keep our members informed of legislation that may impact their retirement.
ORTA has worked with the Ohio Delegation in Washington D.C. on legislative matters such as the Windfall Exclusion Provision (WEP) that penalizes public employee retirees. In fact legislation has been introduced to rectify this unfair situation.
NUMBERS & DATA
ORTA has met with Ohio legislators to convey what the loss of COLA has meant to the thousands of STRS beneficiaries. ORTA has also provided information on the impact of the loss of COLA to all legislators through emails and letters.
ORTA has worked with grassroots groups, STRS Ohio Watchdogs and STRS Members Only Facebook group to advance the petition drive.