Don’t forget about Retirement Security on May Day

By Keiana Greene-Page, seiu.org

It’s International Workers’ Day. Today, we’re standing in solidarity with workers around the globe who want fairer wages and safer working conditions. We’re also standing up for workers who want the opportunity to achieve a dignified retirement.

Elder poverty is an issue many countries must address worldwide. According to HelpAge International, fewer than one in five people older than 60 receive a pension. More than 100 million older people live on less than a dollar a day.

Retirement insecurity isn’t only a Third World problem. Although the United States is considered a wealthy country, one in six older Americans lives below the federal poverty line.

And with dwindling secure pension coverage, nearly half of middle class workers can expect to live off a food budget of just $5 a day when they retire. That’s not right.

SEIU believes every worker should be able to retire with dignity after a lifetime of hard work and playing by the rules. That’s why retirement security is part of our broader fight for social and economic justice for all workers.

Strengthening Social Security is our priority for retirement security. Together with our allies, we’re campaigning to expand secure retirement savings options for workers that don’t have a pension. Our efforts also include advocating for sensible reforms to ensure our public pension plans are strong and sustainable.

We recognize the role the labor movement played in building a retirement system that once allowed workers to enjoy a retirement worthy of their years of hard work. Now is the time to renew those efforts.

By 2050, the number of people 65 and older will more than triple, to 1.5 billion around the world. Let’s make sure workers have the retirement they deserve.

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