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Resolutions & Amendments

Other International Executive Board Resolutions

Social Security's 50th anniversary

International Executive Board, 1984


The year 1985 marks the 50th anniversary of Social Security and the 20th anniversary of Medicare. On January 15, 1935, the committee on Economic Security — a cabinet level group commissioned by President Franklin D. Roosevelt — issued a report establishing a set of federal policies that would help Americans meet "the major hazards and vicissitudes of life." President Roosevelt signed Social Security into law on August 14, 1935.


Today, Social Security provides basic retirement, disability and survivorship protection with more than 116 million American workers and their employers contributing to the system. Social Security provides the cornerstone for a social insurance system that makes it possible for millions of older Americans to look forward to retirement with dignity, independence and economic security. More than 36 million Americans receive benefits each month, including 94% of all persons age 65 and over.


The assault on Social Security by the Reagan Administration has been strong and persistent. Since 1980, the Administration has succeeded in cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits by $21 billion. With the re-election of President Reagan, we can again expect a full-fledged attack on our social insurance system and our nation's commitment to present and future generations.


AFSCME has a major interest and stake in protecting the benefits of the Social Security system. The great majority of our retired and working members count on Social Security as an essential protection for themselves and their families against loss of income from retirement, and disability or death.


That AFSCME will make every effort individually and collectively with other labor, senior citizen and coalition groups to oppose any proposed changes in the Social Security program, including Medicare and disability insurance, which would reduce the present income security protections provided to present and future beneficiaries; and,


That AFSCME will commemorate the 50th anniversary of one of the most significant and far-reaching pieces of social legislation in the 20th century, and will strive to educate its members and the general public about the scope, significance and potential of the Social Security program; and,


That AFSCME urges the AFL-CIO to take a leadership role in commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Social Security, utilizing this historic event to develop a nationwide campaign not only to protect our social insurance system but also to complete the agenda as envisioned by Social Security's founders.