CLEAR Coalition Urges Lawmakers to Reject Pension Proposals

Leaders of the CLEAR Coalition are urging lawmakers to reject the last-minute reckless push to pass Senate Bill 1071, so-called pension reform legislation in the closing hours of the legislative session.

The legislation jeopardizes the retirement security for teachers, nurses, first responders and other public employees across the state by forcing new employees to choose between a 401(k) plan or so-called “hybrid options” that provide a radically reduced defined benefit pension.

“This approach does nothing but gut pensions for middle class families. Once again, some lawmakers want public employees to work longer and contribute much more for retirement benefits that will not allow our fellow citizens to retire with dignity,” said Wendell W. Young IV, President of UFCW Local 1776.

Dave Fillman, Executive Director AFSCME Council 13, noted that the legislation does not address the pension debt that lawmakers have racked up in the past decade.
In addition, public employees agreed to sweeping changes to the state’s pension system that were included in Act 120, enacted in 2010. That law will save an estimated $3 billion in payments.

“Public employees have honored their contracts and have made their pension contributions every single payday. We have agreed to major sacrifices to the pension system that will generate real savings for taxpayers. This bill does nothing but gut benefits for future generations,” Fillman said. “It might make for a good headline but the bill will generate no savings at all for taxpayers.”

The CLEAR Coalition represents more than 1.1 million working Pennsylvanians.