Welcome to the latest edition of This Week in Pensions! This is the news you need to know in the fight for a secure retirement. We have gathered the top stories about pensions and retirement security from the previous week.

Alaska: Update on Bill SB88

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Alaska’s Public Employee Shortages Intensify

Alaska’s growing public service delivery crisis spotlights the urgent need for comprehensive solutions. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly recently passed a resolution urging residents to arm themselves due to the limited local law enforcement stemming from Alaska State Troopers’ ongoing staffing issues

The resolution encourages residents of the steadily growing Mat-Su Borough to take personal responsibility for their safety amid long response times from understaffed Alaska State Troopers. The resolution highlights the growing concerns about law enforcement capabilities in a region roughly the size of West Virginia. Critics worry that encouraging residents to arm themselves may lead to lawlessness, emphasizing the need for a more robust and sustainable solution.

Simultaneously, the Alaska Division of Public Assistance faces a substantial backlog in processing applications for the adult public assistance program, leaving vulnerable Alaskans waiting for essential financial support. Hundreds of elderly and disabled Alaskans are experiencing delays in receiving cash assistance benefits. The ongoing class-action lawsuit against the Department of Health reveals that the state is months behind in processing applications for the adult public assistance program. The backlog, coupled with challenges in processing Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, underscores the strain on public assistance programs.

Alaska’s struggle to fill positions responsible for providing essential services emphasizes the necessity of creating attractive employment packages, and defined benefit pensions can play a pivotal role. Additionally, ensuring financial security for public employees aligns with the broader goal of bolstering community well-being. As discussions around addressing these challenges intensify, the timing couldn’t be more opportune for the resurgence of defined benefit pensions in Alaska.

The Conversations Surrounding Pensions in the Private Sector Continue…

In a move to guarantee retirement security for workers nationwide, the United Auto Workers (UAW) is intensifying its efforts to reinstate defined benefit pensions, echoing the sentiments of ongoing struggles within the private sector. Speaking at the union’s annual conference, UAW President Shawn Fain vowed to restore benefits lost during the Great Recession, either through negotiations with automakers or federal government intervention.

Despite a setback in the recent negotiations with Detroit automakers, Fain remains resolute in pursuing equal benefits for active members and retirees. The UAW’s focus extends beyond its own members, with a commitment to lobby for retirement security for the entire working class through its powerful political arm, the UAW Community Action Program.

The call for defined benefit pensions is gaining momentum across industries, as seen in the ongoing strike by Ford mechanics advocating for stable retirement benefits. The shift away from traditional pension plans to 401(k) savings plans has left workers vulnerable to market volatility, sparking concerns about the future of retirement benefits.

UAW’s strategy includes a two-pronged approach. Firstly, the union is arming its members with alarming statistics about retirement preparedness, emphasizing that only 15% of U.S. workers currently have traditional pensions. Secondly, Fain outlined an ambitious plan to synchronize contract expirations with Ford, GM, and Stellantis on May Day 2028.

Fain’s warning to corporations is clear: guarantee retirement income or face a potential general strike in 2028. The UAW is not just waiting for contract negotiations; it’s standing up and fighting for a program that serves humanity and challenges corporate greed.

Be sure to check back next Friday for the latest in the fight for a secure retirement! For now, sign up for NPPC News Clips to receive daily pension news from across the country directly to your inbox.