State of Minnesota workers who did not work until retirement should check their annual MSRS, or Minnesota State Retirement System, statements. The Legislature’s 2018 omnibus pension bill eliminated benefit (deferred) augmentation for pension benefits accrued by current and former employees covered by an MSRS plan. These include University of Minnesota employees, State Patrol, state corrections officers, Metro Transit workers, and others.

I was laid off from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2012 after 15 years of dedicated service. My layoff was not voluntary. Until now, seven years later, my retirement had been the same, and I continue to depend on it. My Annual 2019 MSRS statement, however, showed my retirement benefit now cut by 33%. I will never in my lifetime recoup the amount of retirement benefit lost due to the omnibus pension bill.

I served in the public sector for lower wages because of the guarantee of a secure retirement package. That changed in 2019, when 33% of my retirement was stolen — with unanimous bipartisan legislative support. The “shared sacrifice,” which for me means losing 33% of my retirement, is a kick in the groin to the hardworking civil service, Teamsters, and AFSCME union workers. Taking 33% or more of our retirement away is the thanks we received from all the bipartisan legislators.

Compare your annual MSRS statements. “Shared sacrifice” does not mean equal sacrifice. The younger you are, the more you lose. If part of your retirement disappeared, contact your unions and state representatives. In an election year, united we stand. To lose your job is hard enough. To steal from your workers afterward is inexcusable. The state has billions in surplus. Shame on legislators!

Mike Bergh


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