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.

Securing Alaska’s Educational Future: The Case for Defined-Benefit Pensions

In his op-ed for Anchorage Daily, Brian Mason sheds light on the critical issue plaguing Alaska’s education system: the exodus of talented educators due to the absence of a defined-benefit pension plan. Mason, a seasoned science teacher, highlights the detrimental impact of Alaska’s current retirement system on both teacher retention and recruitment.

The urgency of Mason’s message is the broader context: Alaska’s fight to reinstate access to defined-benefit pensions for its public workforce. Lawmakers made the controversial decision to abolish the plan in 2006, a move that has since precipitated a host of challenges. Without the stability and security offered by defined-benefit pensions, Alaska has struggled to retain employees across various state and local agencies, severely affecting its ability to provide essential services to its communities.

As he articulates, the ramifications extend beyond mere numbers; they affect the very fabric of Alaska’s society and economy. The scarcity of qualified educators not only compromises the quality of education but also jeopardizes the state’s future prosperity. His message emphasizes the urgent need to reinvest in Alaska’s public workforce to ensure a brighter and more secure tomorrow for all.

Twin Cities Workers on Brink of Strike Demand Fair Wages and Pension Benefits

Amidst a growing trend of workers advocating for better retirement benefits, over 8,000 Twin Cities janitors, security officers, and retail cleaners are now on the verge of a strike. Represented by the Service Employees International Union Local 26, these workers are demanding fair treatment as negotiations for new contracts stall. Brahim Kone, SEIU Local 26 secretary-treasurer, underlines the workers’ plea for livable wages and pension benefits, “It’s time for [employers] to pay a livable wage that deals with inflation. It’s time for them to provide a pension benefit, so we can retire in dignity.” With more than 4,000 downtown janitors and 1,000 airport workers already without contracts, the urgency of their demands intensifies. This development underscores a broader movement among workers nationwide striving for economic security and dignity in retirement.  Read more here.

The Resurgence of Pensions

You’ve heard about it, and we’re going to keep talking about it–pensions may be making a comeback to the private sector in 2024! With only 19% of employees participating in pension plans in 2023, the need for stable income streams post-retirement is pressing. Defined benefit plans offer a fixed monthly payment for life, addressing the challenge of managing funds after leaving the workforce. Despite a focus on savings and investment, many retirees struggle to manage their wealth, leading to potential financial strain. However, some employers, like IBM and Ikea U.S., are shifting towards guaranteed returns and lifetime income options to support retirees. Read more here.

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.