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Scariest People of 2016: No. 9-Jerry Oleksiak

By   /   December 26, 2016  /   News  /   No Comments

Part 3 of 10 in the series Scariest People of 2016

2016 might go down as one of the most unusual years in the history of American politics. Voters chose historic change, but in all too many ways, it was business as usual.

Too many bureaucrats still put their own interests over the interests of the people they were supposed to be serving. Too many officials – elected and unelected – continued to act more like petty tyrants than servants of the people, imposing their own vision of how others should live their lives on citizens perfectly capable of making those decisions for themselves. 

This week we’ll highlight the scariest examples by shining a light on those who seem to think your liberty is less important than their power.

Here’s No. 9.

The head of the Pennsylvania teacher’s union won’t admit that the Keystone State’s public pension systems are unsustainable and that taxpayers are demanding reform.

The Pennsylvania legislature has made multiple attempts in the last few years to address the unfunded public pension liability, which has skyrocketed to $63 billion. The latest House bill would have created a 401(k)-style hybrid defined contribution and benefit plan for future state and school district employees.

Jerry Oleksiak

But pressure from the teacher’s union assured that the House’s latest attempt did not garner enough votes.

Jerry Oleksiak, president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, criticized the latest attempt to reform the pension systems for future state and school district employees. Although the plan would not affect Oleksiak and his current colleagues, he slammed the plan as an a way to drive away future educators from the Keystone state.

Nearly half of the nation’s private-sector workers have defined-contribution plans, but the teacher’s union won’t have it.

And Oleksiak offered no alternative solutions to fix the pension crisis.

Instead, he is choosing to ignore a bipartisan majority demanding a pension overhaul. A poll of 764 Pennsylvanians conducted before the House vote found 54 percent would support a 401(k)-style plan for state employees.

Yet Oleksiak and his union cohorts continue to have firm backing in Harrisburg, and it’s not difficult to figure our why.

PSEA and other unions have contributed $18 million to state campaigns and spent another $40 million from union dues on political activities and lobbying since 2010.

Part of 10 in the series Scariest People of 2016


Emily Leayman is D.C. Education Reporter at Watchdog. A Kutztown University of Pennsylvania graduate, she has been covering education for nearly four years. Before joining Watchdog, Emily interned at the Washington Examiner and Americans for Tax Reform. She has also covered college free speech issues for the College Fix and school board meetings at the Kutztown Patriot in Pennsylvania. Her stories have been picked up by Drudge Report and The Washington Post among other websites and newspapers. During her college career, Emily received a scholarship for her coverage of faculty union contract negotiations. In addition to reporting on school choice in D.C., she enjoys watching hockey and is working toward visiting all 50 states. Emily can be reached at [email protected]