The Montana Public Employees Association was started in 1945 by a group of state, city and county employees to lobby for a retirement system for all public employees. Their successful efforts led to the establishment of PERS in 1945.
The Association continued to increase membership by working to improve the retirement system, establish benefits such as vacation, sick leave, and holidays by using a hired lobbyist to represent the members at the legislature. MPEA played an active role in the vote by public employees for Social Security coverage in 1955. This was followed by a successful campaign to provide unemployment benefits and employer health insurance coverage by the end of the 1960’s.
The Board of Directors, in 1970, determined that the Association needed a full time office and staff to actively represent public employees with their every day work issues. The first staff member was hired March 1, 1971 and the office was established shortly thereafter.
The Montana Collective Bargaining Act passed in 1973 and the rest is history. MPEA currently has a membership of 7000 state, university, city, county, school district and special district employees who have their rights and benefits covered in over 65 different agreements.