From the Blog
How 100 CEOs Equal 50 Million Families
Shocking new study shows the top 100 CEOs have as much retirement assets as 41 percent of all American families.
‘It Just Takes One Person to Change the World’
When mechanic Charlie Blackwell went to work at Florida International University shortly after it opened in the 1970s, he knew the name of everyone on campus. FIU is now huge, and as the AFSCME Local 3346 member retires, just about everybody knows him.
White House Spotlights Importance of Unions
President Obama hosted a “White House Summit on Worker Voice” Oct. 7 that focused on the importance of unions in the modern economy, a welcome national spotlight that comes as more Americans say they approve of unions.
Here's to 80 Years of Social Security -- and at Least 80 More
Social Security is a major source of income for most of the seniors in this country; 9 out of 10 individuals older than 65 receive Social Security retirement payments. It’s one of our most beloved government institutions.
Oregon AFSCME Pushes Reform for All Workers
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed into law a groundbreaking package of workplace and retirement legislation that could serve as a model for other states.
Retirees Build on Success, Look to Protect Retirement Security
More than 100 retirees gathered for the Alliance for Retired Americans Legislative Conference and the Annual AFSCME Retiree Council meeting in the nation’s capital this week, lobbying lawmakers to protect Social Security, Medicare and public pensions.
Texas Pension Board Finds Its Voice for Workers
After months of intense lobbying by AFSCME members, the Texas Legislature has finally put the Employees Retirement System (ERS) on a path to actuarial soundness – without cutting employee take-home pay or retirement benefits.
Most Older Workers Not Ready for Retirement
Odds are, if you're a worker 55 or older, you're not prepared for a secure retirement, according to a new congressional report. If you are prepared, odds are that you’re a union member.
Illinois Supreme Court Rules Pension Cuts Unconstitutional
The Illinois Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a $105 billion pension change affecting half a million active and retired public employees is unconstitutional.
Ohio Retirees at Forum Push to Expand Social Security
Standing up for retirement security for all Americans during a White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA) regional meeting here Monday, AFSCME Ohio retirees amplified the call to preserve, protect and expand Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.
The Man Who Out-Burns Mr. Burns
John Arnold is a former Enron executive and Texas hedge fund billionaire who is trying to destroy public pensions across the nation.
VIDEO: Today’s Important Step to Strengthen Retirement Security
The Department of Labor is proposing to update rules to protect Americans saving for retirement and crack down on conflicts of interest in retirement advice that are costing middle-class and working families billions of dollars every year.
Retirees Demand Real Retirement Security at White House Events
Seniors called on officials to stand up and protect programs that offer real retirement security for Americans as regional White House forums continued in Phoenix and Seattle.
Minnesota Members, Retirees Lobby Legislators
The Minnesota activists' agenda included new revenue for infrastructure, increased staffing at prisons and parks, protecting retirement security, and more paycheck stability.
Low Savings Mean Retirement Insecurity
Pensions have all but vanished in most workplaces, replaced (if at all) by 401(k)-style savings plans that leave whatever dollars that are put aside for the long haul to the wild gyrations of the stock market.
‘The Truth About John Arnold’ Revealed
Last November, Phoenix voters emphatically rejected a ballot initiative that would have replaced city workers’ pensions with risky 401(k)-style plans.
Retirees Out in Force for Washington State Lobby Day
With several critical issues on the front burner of the Washington state Legislature, a record number of retirees turned out during their annual Lobby Day last month.
AFSCME Council 8 Finds Fix for Cincy Pensions
The Cincinnati Retirement System’s seven-year financial roller-coaster ride finally came to an end. Thanks to proposals by AFSCME Council 8, an agreement was reached that protects current and future retirees.
Ohio Members Win $150,000 in Pension Pay Dispute
After years of delays, a Lucas County (Ohio) judge set aside an arbitration decision and ordered the City of Toledo to write a check to approximately 100 AFSCME members who were wrongly denied the pay they were owed.
Texas Corrections Members Fight for Pension, Pay Issues
AFSCME Texas Corrections members showed up in full force Feb. 23 to testify before the Senate Finance Committee about the importance of addressing pension and pay raise issues during this legislative session.
Judge Says Christie Broke Law on Pensions
Gov. Chris Christie’s attempt to shortchange the state’s pension fund by cutting the state’s payment by $1.6 billion was illegal, Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson ruled Feb. 23.
White House Conference on Aging Event Shines Spotlight on Challenges Faced by Seniors
The White House Conference on Aging event in Tampa, on Feb. 19, was the first in a series of regional meetings designed to put a spotlight on the challenges retirees face today.
Fighting to Protect Pensions in Indiana
231 public service workers – bus drivers, library workers, health care workers and others — attended a Lobby Day at the Indiana Statehouse to talk to their legislators about the bills affecting their retirements.
New Jersey Pension Boards Join Unions in Fight Over Pension Cuts
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to shortchange the state’s pension plans by $2.4 billion is wrong and should be overturned, trustees of the state’s largest pension funds said in a lawsuit filed last week.
Phoenix Voters Defeat Pension Cut Initiative
Phoenix voters on Tuesday emphatically rejected a billionaire-backed ballot initiative that would have replaced city workers’ pensions with risky 401(k) style plans.
Court Ruling Backs City on Promise to Retirees
Public workers and retirees in Stockton, California, scored a major victory last week when a judge approved the city’s plan to emerge from bankruptcy without making cuts to workers’ pensions.
Retirees, AFSCME President Talk Midterm Elections’ Importance
Last week, thousands of retiree members across the country participated in an AFSCME Retirees teletown hall with AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders to discuss what’s at stake in the fall elections and commit to volunteer in the final days of the campaign.
Going Door to Door in Fight for Right to Retire with Dignity
Phoenix city workers’ pensions hang in the balance this November as a right-wing group pushes a ballot measure that would replace secure retirement plans with 401(k)s.
Senator Warren, Koch Sisters Lead Rally to Protect Social Security, Medicare
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren rallied some 300 activists on Capitol Hill Thursday. She was joined by the anti-Koch brothers “Koch Sisters” and several other members of Congress who promised to stand strong against tea-party attacks on the social safety net.
Court Backs Illinois Retirees on Health Care
In a major blow to a state plan that would have imposed new costs on retired state workers, the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that the health benefits included in pension packages are protected under state law.
AFSCME Retirees Attend ARA Convention in Las Vegas
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders was a featured speaker at the event.
What Moms Really Want
We know that our issues are at the heart of how we support working families in America and how we must strengthen our nation's fragile economic health.
Union Families, Not Just Members, Are Better Off
Workers with union contracts are far more likely to receive benefits their families can use.
California Pensions Boost State Economic Growth
A new study concludes that CalPERS creates more than $30 billion in economic growth each year.
New Data Show Real Truth About Public Pensions
A new Quarterly Survey shows many public pensions are in a healthy position and others are on the mend.
Detroit Retirees Rally against Cuts to Pension Benefits
The city’s proposal would cut pension checks by up to 34 percent.
Defending Our Retirement Security
I’m not looking for anyone’s pity. Nor am I saying I deserve a secure retirement more than anyone else. I’m just looking to set the record straight.
AFSCME Retiree Makes Big Impact through PEOPLE
Retiree Dennis Patrick sends $500 check to AFSCME’s political action program.
Indiana Union Members Protect Retirement Security, Win Fight Against Corporate Welfare
Legislators voted unanimously against pension outsourcing that would pack corporate coffers with unnecessary fees
It’s About Security: Little Rock Bucks National Trend on Pensions
Through their union, city workers are switching to a more stable pension plan.
Income Inequality Constrains Economic Recovery, Economists Conclude
Union membership can help close the income gap, a critical step to a stable economy.
Pension Theft Averted in San Jose Court Ruling
Thanks to a recent court ruling, more than 1,000 AFSCME members in San Jose, Calif., can rest assured their pensions aren’t going anywhere. Will other cities take the hint?
Sen. Elizabeth Warren to AFSCME Members: It’s Time to Go on Offense
One of our champions, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, dropped by AFSCME last week. Read what she had to say to our members.
We Are AFSCME: This Retiree Stands Up for Retirement Security
Mary Marbles is one of the many activists who make AFSCME a powerful voice for retirees across the country.
Memphis City Council Passes Historic Retirement Reform Allowing 1968 Strikers to Retire With Dignity
Workers finally have the promise of a more secure retirement after decades of service.
Detroit’s Workers, Retirees Lose in Bankruptcy Court Ruling
Tuesday’s ruling that Detroit can be pushed into bankruptcy by Gov. Rick Snyder deals a devastating blow to the retirement security of that city’s public service workers.
Pension Theft: Illinois Senate and House pass bill slashing retirement benefits
Unions vow to challenge constitutionality of the legislation in court.
Rhode Island AFSCME Members Demand Investigation into State Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s Pension Practices
A new report released by Council 94 raises troubling questions about investment decisions.
Michigan Governor Takes Stand in Detroit Trial, Dodges Questions
AFSCME made efforts to meet with Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr before the bankruptcy filing.
New Census Figures Confirm Unions Strengthen Middle Class
Families in union-strong states receive a higher share of state income.
The potential bankruptcy in Detroit is not solely a Detroit crisis; it is an American crisis.
Lawmakers ‘Loot’ Public Pension Funds, Then Blame Retirees for Underfunding
Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi writes searing indictment: ‘Looting the Pension Funds.’
AFSCME Members Fighting to Maintain Pension and Protect Public Against Tea Party Ballot Measure
Retirement security at risk for 7,500 Cincinnati workers if tea party has its way
Saunders on MSNBC: Don’t Scapegoat Detroit Workers
President Lee Saunders appeared on MSNBC yesterday to denounce attacks against Detroit workers and retirees.
Social Security at 78 – Going Strong, Worth Fighting For
Our children and grandchildren deserve a chance at a safe and secure retirement.
President Saunders on MSNBC: We March to Change Our Country for the Better
On PoliticsNation, Pres. Lee Saunders discussed the fight for civil rights and opportunity in America.
Got Questions About the Detroit Financial Crisis? We’ve Got Answers.
AFSCME’s Director of Collective Bargaining Steve Kreisberg explains what’s happening in the Motor City
Medicare on Its Anniversary: Strong and Built to Last
Federal program guarantees health benefits for 50 million seniors and people with disabilities.
Detroit Bankruptcy Scheme Moves Forward, AFSCME Will Fight for Working People
Scheme to use bankruptcy to seize employees’ and retirees’ life savings must be stopped.
AFSCME TV Showcases Next Wavers Taking it to the Streets in Detroit
Conference goers stage demonstration against governor's anti-worker agenda
The Detroit Bankruptcy Filing
A bankruptcy would result in profound hardship for workers, retirees and their families.
Your Story Can Make a Difference
The work you do every day makes a difference. So do your stories. Share your story at www.afscme.org/story.
In Puerto Rico, Retirees Come Together to Form New AFSCME Retiree Chapter
Puerto Rico Retiree Chapter 95 already has more than 2,200 members and continues to grow.
AFSCME Members Prevail in Florida Pension Fight
State Senate rejects ALEC-backed plan that would have undermined workers’ retirement security.
Protecting Retirement Security through a Pension
City of Little Rock, Ark., is switching to a pension system to protect retirees.
American Workers Headed for Retirement Insecurity
Decrease in traditional pensions, upheaval in financial markets make future retirees worse-off than previous generations.
Register Now for Dynamic Legislative Conference
Want to raise your voice for workers? Come to Washington, DC, and do just that.
Wall Street Journal Duo: You’re Not Working Hard Enough
Right-wing bloggers Biggs and Richwine ignore data that show lay-offs cut public services.
This Campaign Hits Home for Workers
AFSCME members, president tackle 1% Mitt Romney’s attack on the 47%
We Are AFSCME: Campaign Volunteer, Retiree Renita Hoover
Wisconsin activist urges fellow retirees to get involved. She’s been doing it for decades.
The Referees Are Fighting for All of Us
Billionaire team owners are trying to take the professional NFL officials’ pensions away.
Paul Ryan Acceptance Speech Light on Reality
Wisconsin retirees: Paul Ryan would “tear seniors’ safety net to shreds.”
Warren to Christie: Not So Fast
Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren calls out Gov. Chris Christie on his RNC keynote speech.
On Social Security’s Birthday: Strengthen and Preserve It (Medicare, Too!)
Celebrating our country’s most successful insurance program for individuals, retirees, the disabled and family survivors.
Romney Taps Medicare-Slashing Paul Ryan as VP Pick
Congressman designed a budget that hurts seniors, working families.
Report Gives House’s Extreme Anti-Worker Agenda a Failing Grade
Right-wing Republicans get an “F” when it comes to creating jobs and protecting workers’ rights.
Romney Protest Shines Light on Why He’s No Good for America
Union members, allies, protest Romney’s policies at GOP Presidential candidate’s fundraiser in Toledo, Ohio.
AFSCME Member Discusses Retirement Security at White House
New York retiree Stuart Leibowitz spoke of the need to preserve Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Alan Simpson Slams Seniors Group for Disagreeing With Him on Social Security
Former Sen. Alan Simpson targets seniors for standing up for retirement security.
Public Pension Opponents Argue from Both Sides to Distort Truth
Dean Baker contends that politicians are “using heaping doses of the politics of envy" to divide workers.
San Diego Businesses Speak Out Against Threat to Retirement Security from Proposition B
The measure is being used to score political points at the expense of city employees.
‘BigWhine’ Should Stop Making Myth About Workers’ Compensation
Despite repeated efforts to confuse the issue, the facts show public workers are not overpaid.
Romney’s Clearer Path Thrusts Ryan Budget in the Spotlight
Republican budget plan attacks working families, slashes benefits, and ends Medicaid coverage for millions.
Five Myths about the Ryan Budget
The top myths about Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan in 140 characters or less.
Report: NY Governor’s Plan Cuts Retirement Security 40 Percent
Study by independent organization confirms benefit cut.
Rhode Island Decision Victory for Retirees
Judge says City of Pawtucket cannot unilaterally cut health benefits promised to retired employees.
Fear of Inadequate Retirement Savings Forcing More Older Americans to Keep Working
Shift from secure employee pension plans to riskier 401(k) plans is largely to blame.
Killing Pensions to Benefit the 1 Percent
Wall Street Journal continues its push to gut the retirement security of American workers.
Court Says a Promise Is a Promise
California Supreme Court rules cities and counties cannot reduce health benefits promised to existing retirees.
Rhode Island Public Workers Win Key Pension Ruling
Judge rules R.I. public employees should have their day in court in pension battle.
House GOP’s Cantor Says Medicare & Medicaid Promises May Not Be Kept
As programs turn 46, Rep. Cantor threatens to hang millions of Americans out to dry.
Gut & Scrap
The Republican proposal to gut and scrap Medicare looks like the Ryan plan on steroids.
AFSCME’s Saunders: Current Fights Are About ‘Direction of the Country’
In magazine interview, Secretary-Treasurer Saunders discusses attacks on workers' rights and the middle class.
Telling the Truth about Public Pension Systems
Pension experts rebut the myth that public pensions are unsustainable.
Shining a Light on House GOP Budget Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid
The Republican budget plan replaces Medicare with a voucher system and slashes Medicaid spending.
Telling the Whole Story About Public Employee Pension Funds
Pew Center on the States portrays the public pension system as "broken," but the facts don't back that up.
Maine’s Governor Won’t Take His Own Medicine
Gov. LePage has exempted himself from a plan to increase pension contributions from public service workers.
Maryland AFSCME Members to Rally in Annapolis Today
Protest targets proposed budget cuts to public services and education, changes to retirement security and health care benefits.
Republicans Take Aim at Social Security
Republican legislators in both the U.S. House and Senate have now started moving toward cutting Social Security.
Origins of the So-Called Pension Crisis
Noted economist Dean Baker has written what could be best described as the definitive explanation of the state of public sector pension plans.
Amazing, inspiring video from University of Wisconsin student Matt Wisniewski features three days of footage (Feb 15-17) from the Madison, WI protest against the SB11 budget repair bill.
Gagging Workers Is Un-American
As the world watched the people of Egypt take to the streets in an effort to exercise their rights and have their voices heard, here at home in the USA, plans are being put into place to silence workers, lower their wages, cut their benefits [...]
Video: Shaking the Wisconsin State House
On Valentine's Day, University of Wisconsin-Madison students filled the Wisconsin Capitol building to protest proposals by Republican Gov. Scott Walker that would reduce funding for higher education and decimate collective bargaining rights.
Wisconsin AFL-CIO Ads Against Attacks on Worker Rights
The Wisconsin AFL-CIO launched an advertising campaign over the weekend to alert the public to the radical plan by Republican Gov. Scott Walker to strip almost all collective bargaining rights from state and local public employees.
O'Reilly Spreads Lies About Public Employee Pensions
FACT: The average annual pension of an AFSCME retiree is $19,000. As Pres. Gerald W. McEntee wrote in USA Today, the real problems facing cities and states were caused by Wall Street, not public workers.
Responding to Wall Street Journal Attacks
California’s State Treasurer: States Should Not Consider Bankruptcy
Some conservative governors and state legislators and their right-wing allies are floating a dangerous suggestion that threatens the retirement security of public sector workers: Have states declare bankruptcy to get out of their pension obligations.
Pres. McEntee: Blame Wall Street
A defense of public services and our pensions by AFSCME Pres. Gerald W. McEntee was featured on the opinion page of USA Today this week.
AFSCME Members to Maryland Lawmakers: ‘Enough is Enough!’
Approximately 150 members of AFSCME Maryland met with their state representatives in Annapolis on Jan. 12 – the first day of the legislative session – to send a clear message that the state’s budget should not be balanced on their backs.
Report from the Public Pension Leadership Meeting
AFSCME activists, local leaders and retirees met with key experts and allies to develop strategies and tools to defend our modest pensions against this unprecedented assault.
Gov. Christie Blames Economic Crisis on Working Families
In a one-sided "60 Minutes" report that aired this week, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) showed viewers he's more interested in scoring political points than solving state and local budget challenges and getting the economy moving.
Stop Believing the Myths About 401(k) Plans
The former publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote a column this week calling public employee pensions “grotesque shadows of their initial good intention” and pushing private savings plans as the future of retirement.
Voters Want a Recovery That Works for Everyone
“Angry voters sent a clear message on Tuesday: Much, much more must be done to put America back to work. But voters rejected right-wing and Tea Party candidates [...]
The Real Story on Public Employees Benefits
This week, Ezra Klein has an excellent piece on the Washington Post’s website that gets to the truth behind public employees benefits. He demolishes the myths that too many right wing politicians and propagandists cling to [...]
Social Security Sense and Nonsense
In a new paper and podcast I’ve tried to correct some of the misinformation that critics of Social Security have been spreading about the program. Here are the facts. Social Security is a well-run, fiscally responsible program.
America's Failed 401(k) Experiment
While the unfunded pension liabilities in many public retirement funds have received an inordinate amount of attention, the larger retirement deficit of most Americans is not generating the level of concern that it deserves.
New Jersey's Pension Fraud Hurts Investors, Taxpayers and Retirees
Last week, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission did something it has never done before. It charged the state of New Jersey with fraudulently misleading investors about the health of the state's pension plan
“Let’s Talk About Facts”
Watch AFSCME Director of Research Kerry Korpi stand up to attacks on public employees and our pensions during an appearance on CNBC. At issue: should states cut public pensions to balance ballooning budgets?
Pensions: The Sky Is Not Falling
Whenever the economy is in dire straits, pundits and demagogues start looking for scapegoats. An all-time favorite is the myth of public employees and their allegedly fat – yet underfunded – pensions.
Wall Street By the Numbers
Across the country this holiday season, Main Street is being starved while Ebenezer Scrooge and his Wall Street friends are feasting.
Victory for Proxy Access
Yesterday we wrote about a critical vote in the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee which pitted regular people and our pensions against the Chamber of Commerce and The Business Roundtable.
Holding Corporate Directors Accountable
The current economic meltdown has destroyed $11 trillion in family wealth, pushed unemployment above 10 percent and threatened millions with home foreclosure. Part of the solution is to hold corporate directors accountable for their risky decisions [...]
Mutual Funds and Overpaid CEOs
CNBC's "Street Signs" host Erin Burnett says the numbers take her breath away: mutual funds consistently vote in favor of management proposals that increase executive pay and against shareholder efforts to bring compensation in line with performance.
Fed's Say on Pay
CEO pay reform remains a key element of the federal government’s financial reform agenda. The Federal Reserve recently announced that the agency will police banks’ pay policies to ensure they do not encourage excessive risk taking.
They Never Learn…
Stephen Schwartzman, CEO of financial firm Blackstone made a sweet $702 million in 2008. Never mind that Blackstone stock has plummeted 40 percent over the last two years.
Public Pensions Support Vital Services, Stimulate the Economy
Public pensions offer good value for taxpayers. In addition to providing modest but secure retirements for public employees — emergency responders, firefighters, health care workers, teachers, police officers and more.
Pay for Performance? No Thanks, I’m a CEO
Did you know that Citigroup CEO Vikram S. Pandit raked in a sweet $38 million in total compensation last year while running his company to the ground? Let’s not forget that Citigroup has already received $45 billion in federal bailout funds.
End the Madness of Excessive CEO Pay
For years, AFSCME has been leading the fight to rein in the grotesque and excessive paychecks that unaccountable boards of directors have been giving too many of America's CEOs.
Shame on You, Wall Street
It’s no mystery. The economy is ailing, working families are fighting hard to make ends meet and this week alone, American companies reported as many as 65,000 job cuts.
AFSCME Pension Plan Calls for Corporate Accountability
In the wake of our current financial crisis, the AFSCME Employees Pension Plan has announced its 2009 shareholder program with an emphasis on reasonable executive pay and more director accountability.
Public Employee Pensions Are Not the Problem
A Quick Take on CEO Pay
Here's Your Blank Check
Wall Street vs. Main Street
The Fight for Investor Rights is Also Our Fight
GAO Finds State and Local Pension Systems Are Well Funded
Enough Is Enough
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