Retirement security bill ready for Gov. Brown

Press Release

Contact: Khanh Weinberg, (408) 921-0098

Gov. Brown urged to sign SB1234, giving millions access to a voluntary retirement plan

Lawmakers today took a bold step in the fight against elder poverty by approving a bill to provide private sector workers an opportunity to enroll in the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program, a voluntary retirement plan with guaranteed benefits.

SB1234, co-authored by Sens. Kevin DeLeón and Darrell Steinberg, establishes California as a leader among states in creating new retirement plans for private-sector workers.

Secure Choice acts as a supplement to Social Security for low- and middle-income workers without access to an employer sponsored retirement plan.  This affordable plan would be professionally managed and portable so workers could take their retirement savings from job to job.

Amparo Moreno, a child care provider from Los Angeles County, is grateful for this opportunity.

“California child care providers like me have been working for years without raises, medical insurance, retirement benefits or even sick days to help our families achieve the American Dream,” said Moreno. “We support working families by taking good care of their kids and I hope Governor Brown will support families like mine by signing this bill into law.”

The lack of sufficient retirement savings poses a significant threat to the state’s already strained safety net programs and exacerbates the state’s high unemployment rate as seniors are forced to work longer, leaving fewer jobs available for younger workers trying to enter the workforce.

“California workers without access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan need a seamless, lifelong savings system so that they may have a chance to build retirement security for themselves, at no cost to taxpayers,” said Rachel Grocha-Welch, a forensic chemist in Santa Clara County. “We applaud California’s lawmakers exploring a visionary path to help bring retirement security for all.”

Additional California retirement facts:

  • 6.3 million Californians working in the private sector do not have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans.  (University of California, Berkeley, Center for Labor Research and Education)
  • Nearly 50 percent of middle-income California workers will retire at or near poverty.

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The Service Employees International Union is an organization of 2.1 million members united by the belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide. SEIU is dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families and creating a more just and humane society. For more information, visit

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