For the third time in four years, we are facing yet another attack against pensions: A coalition of anti-pension groups introduced a new ballot initiative on June 4.
This initiative would undermine collective bargaining, eliminate all existing pensions for every public employee hired after January 1, 2019, and will require costly elections for changes to pensions and other retirement benefits.
The initiative’s sponsors include former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and San Diego politician Carl DeMaio. The two pushed through local anti-pension initiatives that have failed legal tests.
We know the dire consequences of the pension “reform” former San Jose mayor Chuck Reed implemented in 2012 in San Jose: The public force of San Jose is now understaffed after losing more than 250 police officers, and the crime rate has increased. The current mayor is facing a crisis that has not yet been solved. It was also reported that Reed inflated the long-term cost of pensions in order to sway voters.
Moreover, the 2013 Public Employees Pensions Reform Act (PEPRA) signed by Governor Brown has already reduced the pensions of many workers, saving the state more than $100 billion.
Why the attack on public employee pensions? Who really benefits?
Public workers are being scapegoated for problems caused by Wall Street during the Great Recession, and pensions are being used as a wedge issue to divide working class Americans. Also, politicians are using pensions to attack collective bargaining and weaken unions in the state.
The elimination of public pension systems would be a huge boon for financial planners and companies that stand to invest that money while making profit off of the fees they can charge each individual with 401(K) plans.
At SEIU, we believe that all Californians should have a safe and secure retirement. The real problem is not that public employees have pensions, the problem is that private sector workers do not. That’s because the private sector systemically eliminated pension plans in favor of risky 401(k) plans – reducing costs to corporate America at the expense of the American worker.
There is a retirement crisis in California and the new ballot measure would further accelerate the race to the
bottom for California’s middle class. Instead of attacking public workers over the retirement benefits that they have earned and contributed to, we should all be having discussions about how to create better retirement options for everyone.
What can you do?
Get involved and ready to fight back:
- Sign up to get SEIU 521 pension updates by email
- Join the 521 Retirement Security for All (RSA) Committee
- Like the Facebook page on retirement security
- Share your story: Will you be able to retire with dignity?
For more information, follow the trail of the dark money…
Financial backing for the initiative is coming from anti-union and anti-pension John Arnold, a Texas billionaire, who made his fortune at Enron ripping off Californians through the energy crisis and walked away from bankruptcy with a golden parachute, while other Enron workers lost their life savings.
Learn how one billionaire is out to destroy retirement security: www.truthaboutjohnarnold.com