This Week in Pensions

This Week in Pensions: May 31, 2024

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


After a baseless and wildly unfactual article attacking the necessity of pensions for attracting and retaining workers from the Reason Foundation, we set the record straight about how vital pensions are for obtaining and keeping employees. Read our rebuttal here

Defined Benefit Pensions Are Alive And Well

In an article for Forbes this week, Dan Doonan, Executive Director at the National Institute of Retirement Security (NIRS), wrote about how pension plans, both in the public and private sector, are experiencing a boom in performance and popularity. A recent study from the Investment Company Institute reported that plans are paying benefits to 25 million people, holding $11.8 trillion in plan assets, and more than $600 billion in benefits paid annually to support seniors. Additionally, 90% of public sector employees actively contribute to pension plans. 

Congress is also turning its attention toward defined-benefit pensions. In the past few years, we’ve seen the passage of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act and SECURE 2.0, both aimed at increasing retirement security for Americans. Earlier this year, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing addressing the negative repercussions plaguing states and communities following years of pension system closures and reforms. The hearing on the retirement crisis in America, at which Doonan testified, confirmed Congress’s renewed interest and commitment to a better understanding of the current role of pensions in the retirement landscape.

As income disparity and economic insecurity grow worse in our country, it is vital that we embrace strong retirement plans and make our message clear to lawmakers that the American workforce wants defined-benefit pensions.

32BJ School Cleaners Seek Pension Boost

School cleaners and handypersons with the Service Employees International Union Local (SEIU) 32BJ rallied in New York City this week for more equitable pension contributions, which haven’t been updated since 2018. Citing their prevailing wage contract, the workers argue that increasing a contribution to their pension would not cost the city any additional money.

Anyone who’s ever been to a city or a public school knows that the tireless work of the custodians and handypersons keeps them together. They get up early and do the jobs most people aren’t willing to do–and in a city like New York, that job is even more challenging. Especially with many public schools becoming COVID testing centers or temporary migrant shelters, many of these middle-class workers have had to become front-line supporters for jobs they didn’t sign up for.

Kevin Jefferson, a handyperson at P.S. 2 in Manhattan, said, “We deserve this pension improvement. I gave 25 years of my life to them, I expect to retire with some dignity and respect for the services that I gave to the school system.”

Be sure to check back next Friday for the latest news 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.