California is on the verge of a retirement crisis: With what is already one of the highest poverty rates among seniors in the nation, more than six million Californians have no access to a workplace retirement plan and are in danger of retiring to significantly diminished lifestyles. Nearly half of California’s working population is headed toward retirement into poverty.
What kind of communities will California have if millions of seniors are working themselves into the grave or are unable to support themselves? It could very well resemble the era before the passage of the Social Security Act when half of retirees were completely dependent upon relatives for basic survival and the indigent were consigned to government-run poor houses. So even young workers and families will struggle to provide for aging family members who have no retirement savings to fall back on.
Barbara Williams is a former aerospace worker in California who lost her piece of the American dream when that industry downsized. She lost her job, benefits and hope for a dignified retirement.
Now, at age 66, Barbara works as an early childhood education provider — an occupation that provides more emotional gratification than wages and benefits. Without access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, Barbara and more than 6 million other Californians will face the choice of retiring into poverty or working until death.
Wal-Mart is the largest employer in the US – they rake in billion-dollar profits while failing to pay a living wage to its workers. We’re taking part in a strike rally in Rancho Cordova today at 3:00 p.m. as part of our fight to end poverty wages and our economy’s race to the bottom. Join us today at 10655 Folsom Boulevard.
Long-time activist is committed to retirement security
Longtime Local 1000 DLC 786 president Theresa Taylor, who has been active in every major Local 1000 campaign in the past decade, has announced her candidacy for an open seat on the CalPERS Board of Administration.
The Local 1000-backed retirement security for all efforts in California are drawing national attention as other states work to develop a plan to help avert a retirement crisis among private sector workers. Members of the Secure Choice Retirement Savings Investment Board, including Local 1000 President Yvonne R. Walker were briefed May 27 about how Maryland, Illinois and Connecticut have joined California and Oregon in adopting legislation to study setting up a private sector retirement savings plan.
Local 1000 members advanced our fight to grow the middle class and protect all workers from the race to the bottom by participating in a global wave of strikes and protests on May 15 in 150 cities across the US and 33 additional countries on six continents.”As someone who cares about where our economy is headed and what kind jobs are being created in my neighborhood–this is my fight,” said Beth Snyder, a steward at the Department of State Hospitals who attended actions in Sacramento.
And Local 1000 is taking a lead role in creating new and innovative private-sector models for workers who don’t have pensions. In 2012, Local 1000 was a strong supporter of the legislation that created the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Plan which, if implemented, would provide a voluntary, automatic-enrollment, retirement plan for millions of Californians without one. Local 1000 President Yvonne R. Walker serves on the Secure Choice Board, and the union is committed to moving this important program forward.
Social Security alone won’t be enough to stop the slide into poverty. Experts say that program will provide only about 40 percent of what the average retiree needs. For a secure retirement, financial planners talk about a “three-legged stool” consisting of Social Security, personal savings and a workplace retirement plan, like a pension or a 401(k). But for too many Californians with no savings and no defined benefit plan, two legs are missing and the stool is set to crash under the pressure.