Congress is working on another relief package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is urgent that the bill include a fix for the multiemployer pension crisis.
Browse this section of our website to learn more about what you can do to encourage policymakers to support policies and proposals that improve the retirement security of America’s workers, retirees, and their families.
Writing a letter to the editor of a newspaper or magazine can be a highly-effective way of getting your voice heard on important issues, especially if the newspaper is in the district of a Member of Congress.
Writing to Members of Congress is an effective way of making sure they know your position on an issue. Find contact information for Members of Congress by visiting the web sites for the Senate and the House of Representatives. Because security concerns on Capitol Hill sometimes slow down the delivery of mailed letters, e-mails are the best way to communicate with your members of Congress.
Keep the following in mind when drafting your letters:
Calling congressional offices is a great way to get your voice heard on an issue that is important to you. Taking the following steps will help ensure you are able to deliver your message in the most effective manner possible when making phone calls. Some congressional offices log the types of calls that constituents make about issues, so make sure to tell the person who answers the phone the issue you are calling about.
Retiree groups have used Facebook to share information about threats to their retirement security. Retirees also use Twitter to engage with key policymakers and influencers to express their views. Use our Twitter Guide to Advocacy to get started.
We’ve created a Twitter Guide to help you learn how to use Twitter to contact members of
Congress and other policymakers about your pensions.
Twitter is fun, easy and interactive. It’ll take no time to set up.
Sample hashtags you can use are:
Asking questions at town hall meetings is another great way to get your voice heard on important pension issues. Legislators often hold town hall meetings to find out what their constituents think. Learn more about how you can take action at town hall meetings.
A very effective way of getting messages to policymakers and the public is to start a website highlighting your concerns. The Pension Preservation Network, started by retired United Airlines pilot Jim Hosking, was launched as a way of organizing activists. Many groups also start chat rooms where they can anonymously discuss issues and strategies.
To help retired NFL players who lack adequate pensions, the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund is holding an ongoing auction to raise funds for retired players in need of financial assistance. The auction has featured items such as Coach Mike Ditka’s 1975 NFC Championship ring and plays drawn by Hall of Fame Coach Vince Lombardi. To date, the auction has raised over $125,000 in funds for retired NFL players.
Using a variety of online strategies, including blogs and mass e-mails, to attract attention to their problem, the “Miller women” were able to negotiate a contract that increases their monthly pensions and reduces retirement age from 60 to 57. The Miller women used a web site to stage an online protest of the company’s actions. Watch the video they made to highlight their problems.
A group of United Airlines flight attendants posed semi-nude for a calendar entitled “Stewardesses Stripped (of their Pension?). Each picture also contained a “zinger” related to their pension plan’s collapse. The calendar has been highlighted on the Today Show, Inside Edition, Washington Post, CNN, FOX, NBC, and ABC.
When IBM decided to convert from a traditional pension plan to a cash balance plan, older, long-time employees realized that they would lose as much as half of their expected pensions. They set up a web site and a chat room, testified before Congress and at a Treasury Department hearing, and conducted press briefings. They also flew a blimp over a Colorado football stadium with a banner reading “IBM stole my pension. Is yours safe?” IBM reversed its decision for most of the affected employees.
Because they represent a large group of members who have similar concerns, retiree organizations been able to leverage the power of their membership to encourage companies to make significant changes to improve retiree pensions.
One way of expressing concerns about unfair pension practices is to bring them to the attention of a company’s shareholders through proxy resolutions. Although proxy proposals must be carefully crafted to comply with the rules, they can have a significant impact on corporate policies. Shareholder resolutions have gained in prominence in recent years, as shareholders recognize their power.
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In today’s challenging pension environment, our work is more important than ever. Your contribution will help make it possible for the Center to continue its crucial role as a national consumer organization committed protecting and promoting retirement security.