November 21, 2022

Alliance for Retired Americans Hosts 2022 Retirement Security Symposium

More than a dozen speakers from unions and government agencies, young workers and others shared strategies to address the continuing retirement security emergency in America at the Alliance’s Retirement Security Symposium: An Intergenerational Seminar on Tuesday. Attendees discussed pensions as well as other cornerstones of retirement security, including Social Security and Medicare. Several dozen attendees attended in person at AFL-CIO Headquarters in Washington, DC and scores more participated virtually.

Alliance President Robert Roach, Jr. served as the convenor and made opening and closing remarks. Alliance Executive Director Richard Fiesta gave a presentation on Social Security and Medicare.

“Strengthening and expanding Social Security and educating younger workers about the value of traditional pensions are essential for both policymakers and union organizers,” said President Roach.

“We are building an intergenerational movement that includes more young workers joining the fight to defend our pensions. It is a key part of the effort to improve the retirement security of all Americans.”

AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler gave the opening remarks in a special video about Labor’s role in the passage of the American Rescue Plan, which included the Butch Lewis Act.

Rep. John Larson of Connecticut, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee, spoke about the need to protect and expand Social Security now.

“Social Security is the nation’s #1 insurance program, the #1 anti-poverty program for the elderly and children, and Republicans are talking about holding the debt ceiling hostage to make cuts at a time when the program needs to be enhanced,” said Rep. Larson. “It needs to be enhanced because people are getting below poverty level checks, there hasn’t been an increase in more than 50 years.”

You can watch Rep. Larson’s full remarks here. Other highlights included:

  • Senior officials from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) spoke about the PBGC’s Pension Insurance programs, Special Financial Assistance for Multiemployer Plans under the American Rescue Plan, and PBGC Reports.
  • Meghan Rozarie, Senior Associate with the Retirees Organization and Field Services Department of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), offered a presentation that included how the retirement crisis had affected her own family.
  • Mike Walden, Incorporator and former President, National United Committee to Protect Pensions (NUCPP) and Ken Stribling, current NUCPP President, represented Pension Warrior Rita Lewis.
  • Ilana Boivie, Senior Research Economist for the Strategic Resources Department with the Machinists Union (IAMAW), spoke about “Trends in Retirement Bargaining: What Do (Young) Workers Want?”
  • Sisto Campana, Labor Advocate with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) updated participants on the status of public pension plans.

Videos of the presentations and additional material are available here.

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