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Members build support for Secure Choice
Working to offer retirement dignity and security for millions

Local 1000 members are volunteering to be part of a campaign to build support for retirement security, including California’s Secure Choice program, which would offer options to more than six million California workers whose employers do not offer a retirement plan.  

At a July 1 training session, more than 20 member activists learned about the retirement crisis and best practices for communicating about these issues with fellow state employees and community members.  

“We need to explain to as many people as possible how our economy and income inequality are connected to the inability of millions of workers to save for retirement,” said Theresa Taylor, a Franchise Tax Board employee and a member of Local 1000’s Retirement Security Committee. “Even though, as Local 1000 members, we have a secure retirement through CalPERS, all of us have friends and family who have little or no retirement savings. “I want to make sure the stability and security we’ve worked so hard to earn will be there for our families when we need it most.” 

Taylor, who is a candidate for a seat on the CalPERS Board of Administration, has received Local 1000’s endorsement. In addition to keeping CalPERS strong and secure, Taylor strongly supports expanding the opportunities for workers in the private sector, including the Secure Choice program.  

Secure Choice, which was created in 2012 by SB 1234, is designed to provide safe and secure retirement savings options for the millions of California workers who do not have a pension or 401(k) through their jobs. The California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Investment Board is in the early stages of designing a system to implement Secure Choice.  

Real-life retirement challenges 

Member volunteer Charlene Leathers-Sibblis, an Employment Development Department employee from Stockton, shared how her husband and her older brother have each found themselves nearing retirement age after a lifetime of work, with little or no savings, an all-too-common illustration of the challenges that face middle-class working families.  

“Two years ago my brother became seriously ill at a time when he had no medical insurance,” Leathers-Sibblis said. “It broke my heart to learn that whatever money he had set aside went to pay medical bills. He turns 62 in September. He has no retirement, no savings and a limited ability to work.  

“My husband is a chef who has spent his life working in restaurants and catering services and has never worked for an employer who offered a retirement plan,” said Leathers-Sibblis. “He is currently self-employed and owns a deli but his retirement does not look good.” 

“We need to make it easy and safe for people to save money for retirement, one paycheck at a time, throughout their working life.”

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