Statement on Governor Brown’s pension announcement

SEIU 521 Pension Committee meets Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. to discuss the Gov.’s proposal.
The meeting is via video-conference from the Union offices with video capability.
Contact hoan.pham@seiu521.org for more information.

Responding to Governor Jerry Brown’s pension proposals, State employee organizations say it’s time to talk about retirement security for all Californians

Retirement with DignitySACRAMENTO, CA — Yvonne Walker, President of Service Employees International Union Local 1000, and Jon Hamm, Executive Officer of the California Association of Highway Patrolmen have long advocated for reforms that ensure sustainable public pension plans.

Public employee unions have negotiated reforms that have saved the taxpayers nearly $600 million in the past two years alone. We believe it’s time for a new conversation about retirement security for all Californians, especially as California and the nation struggle to untangle the mess caused by Wall Street’s financial malpractice.

“Gov. Brown’s proposal starts the conversation on retirement security that will help shape the future for the millions of people reaching retirement age,” Walker and Hamm said in a joint statement.

“We’re paying more, working longer, and earning less … like most Americans,” Hamm said. “Public and private pension funds were hit hard when Wall Street used our retirement money to fund their extraordinary greed.”

“A new UC Berkeley study shows that nearly half of all Californians are headed into a retirement of poverty,” added Walker. “In this day and age, that’s just wrong.”

“We support curbing abuses and putting an end to special deals like those in the City of Bell,” Walker and Hamm said. “At the same time, we cannot jeopardize the secure retirements of hard working Californians whose modest pensions are often the difference between living out their years in security and retiring into poverty.”

“This is why any reform proposal must include security for the private sector,” Walker said. “Vehicles like CalPERS that offer expertise in making sound investments and achieving returns higher than market averages should be available to public and private sector employers and their employees.”

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Yvonne Walker is president of SEIU Local 1000, representing nearly 95,000 California state employees and chair of the Service Employees International Union’s national committee on retirement security;
Jon Hamm is Executive Officer of the California Association of Highway Patrolmen representing 14,000 CHP officers.

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