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Resolutions & Amendments

41st International Convention - Chicago, IL (2014)

Retirement Security for All

Resolution No. 95
41st International Convention
McCormick Place
July 14 - 18, 2014
Chicago, IL


            After a lifetime of working hard and playing by the rules, everyone in America should be able to look forward to a retirement free from financial worry and hardship. Everyone should have the peace of mind that they won’t become a burden to their children who are struggling to raise their own families and families shouldn’t be squeezed between saving for their children’s college education, providing for their own retirement and helping their parents make ends meet; and


            Every generation should be able to retire with the confidence that they will maintain the standard of living they worked hard to attain over decades; and


            We have a retirement security crisis in America that threatens the middle class and everyone working their way into it. The erosion of good jobs, attacks on workplace benefits, and the recent financial crisis have stripped millions of their homes and assets.  Efforts to dismantle Social Security have left Americans worried about their ability to retire at all. Our most vulnerable neighbors, including the poor, women, people with disabilities, and communities of color, face the same inequities in retirement as they do elsewhere; and


            Defined contribution plans such as 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts do not form the basis of a secure retirement but are supplements to Social Security and traditional defined benefit pension plans.


            AFSCME and America must take action to address the retirement security crisis now; and


            AFSCME shall create and support a Retirement Security for All Campaign that unites progressives and others around a common goal:  building a comprehensive and sustainable retirement system that guarantees economic security that we can all look forward to in later years and that will be there for our children and future generations; and


            AFSCME shall continue to aggressively defend against attacks on our members’ defined benefit pensions; and


            AFSCME supports a national solution to the retirement security challenge based on the following principles: 

•All workers must have a guaranteed retirement income for life that allows them (and their spouses/partners) to maintain their standard of living after a lifetime of work and prevents all Americans from falling into poverty as they age.

  • A comprehensive national solution must address the severe gender and racial disparities in wealth and retirement income.
  • Retirement shouldn’t be a gamble. Workers must be able to count on a steady lifetime stream of retirement income that isn’t subject to the ups and downs of Wall Street.
  • Employees, employers and government should share responsibility for retirement security.
  • A sustainable retirement system must preserve, strengthen and build on Social Security and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program as well as existing defined benefit systems, such as public employee, multi-employer and single-employer pension plans.
  • The system should keep costs low and must be built and run solely to meet the needs of workers and retirees, not to maximize profits.