by Laura Reyes | November 23, 2016
Serving as your secretary-treasurer gives me the opportunity to work closely with members in both the dawn and the twilight of their careers.
I love the enduring energy that AFSCME Retirees and Next Wave bring to AFSCME, whether working on retirement security or shining a light on issues like student debt.
Protecting Our Future
Our retirees are fighting to ensure that all retirees can live in dignity after a lifelong commitment to making our communities stronger. Millions of Americans are in danger of not having enough money to maintain their standard of living after they’ve reached the end of their working years. Meanwhile, right-wing politicians continue to attack the pensions we have earned, while threatening to shred the retirement safety net. For so many people a Social Security check is their only source of income, and they couldn’t visit the doctor if it weren’t for Medicare.
Meanwhile, our Next Wavers are fighting for their rights just as they are getting a foothold in their careers. In an economy that can be tough sledding for workers of all ages, they often face the additional pressure of starting adulthood buried under an avalanche of debt. Total student loan debt nationwide now exceeds $1 trillion (yes, that’s trillion with a “t”).
An Economy for People of all Ages
With the election behind us, we need to make sure the incoming administration truly understands the pressures working families face — and often, the intergenerational nature of those pressures. During his campaign, President-elect Trump said he would shore up Social Security and Medicare; we need to make sure he keeps his word. Privatization would mean deep benefit cuts that would drive many retirees into poverty. And if we’re going to make America even greater than it already is, we can’t put young people in such a deep financial hole before their work lives even begin.
The stakes in the coming years are high for all of us — and certainly for our retirees and Next Wave. We need to build an economy that works for everyone, providing greater security for young and old and everyone in between. But it will only happen if we honor our debt of gratitude to our retirees, and if we recognize the need to invest in the workforce of tomorrow.
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