Secure Choice Board moves ahead on innovative retirement plan
Local 1000 is making pension security a priority for all Californians


The state of California is moving forward with efforts to design a retirement-savings program for workers who do not have a pension or a savings plan through their employer.

The California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Investment Board voted on Jan. 26 to hire a law firm to help design the plan and to seek federal approval. Under SB 1234, the Local 1000-sponsored legislation that created Secure Choice, the board will present its final recommendations to the governor and Legislature for approval.

“We are designing a program from the ground up that ultimately will help millions of California workers save for a modest and secure retirement,” said Local 1000 President Yvonne R. Walker, who is a member of the Secure Choice board. “We are working to help the 6.3 million California workers who currently lack access to retirement-savings plans through their jobs.”

Local 1000 leaders voted in 2012 to take up the fight for retirement security for California workers as part of an ongoing commitment to help all Californians achieve social and economic justice and to strengthen the middle class.

Social Security is not enough

The Secure Choice board also heard public testimony from a Local 1000 member leader who discussed the challenges her family faces with retirement and elder care.

Bonnie Berger, a steward at the State Compensation Insurance Fund in Sacramento, spoke about the challenges that she is facing after caring for her retired father and his two brothers for the past five years.

“Our country is not facing a retirement crisis in the future. We are in the crisis right now,” Berger said. “My father and my uncles worked their entire adult lives but they were unable to save much for retirement other than Social Security. That is just not enough to survive on. Social Security was never intended to be the only savings available for retirees. But millions of Americans, including members of my own family, have nothing else to rely on.”

“I fear that the problem will only get worse over time,” Berger told the board. “Most workers in their 20s, 30s and 40s do not have access to pension plans and fewer than half have access to 401(k) or similar retirement plans through an employer. Secure Choice will help millions of workers save for retirement and develop an awareness of the need to plan for the future.”