Promoting Retirement Security for All
In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, the CalSavers program, California’s first state-sponsored retirement program, has become even more vital to SEIU’s mission of ensuring a California for all. With the financial risks of COVID-19 weighing so heavily on employees across the state, the nearly 7.5 million private-sector employees who work for a business that does not offer a retirement plan are at a huge disadvantage.
It is our responsibility to fight for our union values and ensure that every Californian is able to retire without worries of financial issues outside their control. “The ability to retire with dignity should be available to everyone who works hard throughout their life,” said SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne R. Walker.
“With CalSavers, just saving a little will go a long way toward helping employees achieve a pathway to a secure retirement without the fear of living in poverty after their working years are behind them.”
SEIU Local 1000 worked with the state to help build the CalSavers program, sponsoring SB 1234 in 2016. This represented the most ambitious push to expand retirement security since Social Security in the 1930s. Since less than half of all private sector workers have access to a pension plan, retirement security is an issue for a wide range of labor, faith, and social justice groups. We joined our brothers and sisters in the fight to expand programs to confront the growing retirement crisis facing millions of Californians, and we won!
The CalSavers program is still expanding, and with COVID-19 putting a financial burden on employers, it has become even more obvious how important this program will be to the future of California. We have a long way to go to solve the crisis of retirement security, but CalSavers represents a formidable tool in the state’s arsenal to address it.