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Resolutions & Amendments

40th International Convention - Los Angeles, CA (2012)


Resolution No. 21
40th International Convention
Los Angeles Convention Center
June 18 - 22, 2012
Los Angeles, CA


            There is a full-scale assault on the retirement security of all working Americans.  Attacks on traditional pensions in both the public and private sectors, combined with the ineffectiveness of defined contribution retirement systems, have created a retirement security crisis.  Most of the 76 million baby boomers will face retirement with fewer assets than previous generations, and many will be forced to keep working in their retirement years to stay out of poverty; and


            Taking into account all sources of income, it is estimated that the gap between what working Americans need to maintain their standard of living in retirement and what they actually have is $6.6 trillion. The median household headed by a person aged 60 to 62 with a 401(k) account has less than one-quarter of what is needed to maintain the same standard of living in retirement; and


            Social Security is the foundation for secure retirement for the vast majority of Americans.  For those public workers excluded from Social Security, a secure and adequate defined benefit pension plan is necessary to provide adequate economic security in retirement.  Yet both pensions and Social Security are under attack.  While Social Security is an obvious solution to the retirement crisis, its current benefit levels are too modest.  Social Security’s income replacement rate is one of the lowest of all the industrialized countries.  To compensate for the decline of traditional pensions and the loss of retirement savings, Social Security retirement benefits must be increased across the board.  In addition, Social Security cost-of-living adjustments need to take into account the higher health care costs faced by seniors; and


            America must either improve Social Security benefits or create a supplemental retirement system that is universal, secure and adequate.


            AFSCME will work with the AFL-CIO and other organizations to develop a universal, secure and adequate retirement system; and


            The traditional defined benefit public pension plan is a worthy model for a supplemental retirement system. Principles of such a system should include:

a)     shared responsibility - retirement security should be the shared financial responsibility of employers, employees and the government;

b)    pooled investments - the best retirement systems rely on professionally managed, pooled assets to optimize returns on investments and minimize fees;

c)     income replacement in retirement - upon retirement, benefits should be paid out over the lifetime of retirees and any surviving spouses, domestic partners, and former spouses; and

d)    COLA protection - benefits should be adjusted for cost of living increases.


Salvatore Luciano, Executive Director and Delegate
AFSCME Council 4