This Week in Pensions

This Week in Pensions: April 26, 2024

Posted by


Alaska Public Safety Employees Demand Pension Reform

Public safety employees in Alaska rallied at the state Capitol on Tuesday, demanding action on Senate Bill 88, a bill that would open a new pension system for state workers. The absence of a pension system since 2006 has fueled severe workforce retention challenges, particularly in critical sectors like public safety. 

Dominic Lozano, President of the Alaska Professional Firefighters Association, highlighted the detrimental effects of Alaska’s defined contribution system, driving skilled workers to seek opportunities in states with more secure retirement options, “They get three, four or five years in the job, realize they can take their money and walk away and go to another state that has a pension, and that’s where they are going to be taken care of when they retire. Alaska’s retirement system is broken,” Lozano said. The consequences of this migration extend beyond individual careers, impacting the effectiveness of public safety departments and ultimately endangering community safety.

Despite bipartisan support, the bill remains stalled in the House State Affairs Committee, leaving public safety departments grappling with staffing shortages. Late Wednesday, members of the House attempted a legislative maneuver known as a discharge petition, which would have forced the bill out of the committee, which is currently stalled. Unfortunately, the vote failed, with 18 Representatives voting in favor of discharging the bill and 20 voting against it. 

As tensions mount, advocates stress the urgency of reform to ensure the adequate staffing of Alaska’s public workforce and the well-being of the communities they serve.

Pension Reforms Offer Hope for New York’s  Public Sector Workers 

In a significant victory for public-sector unions, New York lawmakers announced reforms to the Tier 6 retirement plan.“These enhancements to an employee’s retirement benefits are intended to recruit and retain a much stronger and talented public workforce,” the governor’s office said. The changes, including adjustments to final average salary calculations and the exclusion of overtime earnings, reflect a collaborative effort between legislators and labor groups to address recruitment challenges and workforce shortages. State Senator Robert Jackson hailed the reforms as a restoration of fairness and a testament to the value of public service. Proponents assert that investing in the public workforce is crucial for long-term stability and prosperity. With vacancies plaguing state and municipal sectors, the reforms signal a promising step towards rebuilding a robust public workforce and ensuring a brighter future for workers across New York.

American Voters Fear Retirement Insecurity

Public opinion research commissioned by the Alliance for Prosperity and a Secure Retirement unveils American voters’ deep concerns about their retirement savings. The findings paint a grim picture, with only 26% expressing confidence in their retirement preparedness. The survey highlights widespread anxiety, with 80% of respondents believing that Americans are ill-prepared for retirement and a staggering 87% declaring a national retirement crisis. 

The survey findings arrived at a critical point in time, coinciding with a period of economic instability where Americans are increasingly drawing from their savings or reducing contributions to their nest eggs. Concurrently, major corporations are reassessing their approach to employee retirement benefits, viewing pensions not only as a means to ensure a secure retirement for their workforce but also as a strategic tool to attract top talent.

As Americans grapple with uncertainties about their financial futures, the survey findings remind us of the urgent need for comprehensive solutions to address the looming retirement crisis.

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.