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Pension Privatization Threatens To Hold Budget Hostage

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On June 17, Gov Tom Corbett, at a press conference, threatened to hold up passage of the State Budget unless a pension privatization plan is passed.

The plan, according to independent actuaries, would do nothing to save money in the current budget, but would cut the retirement benefits of younger workers by up to %40.

State AFL-CIO President Richard Bloomingdale suggests that a look be taken at a way to fund the system, "the billions in outsized taxpayer giveaways to corporations. Governor Corbett gives away $3.9 billion dollars a year in corporate welfare--more than enough to fully fund our pension system."

During the June 17 conference, Gov. Corbett also indicated he would consider reducing the amount employers are required to pay into the pension system, further adding to the pension debt.

"Reducing what the state and school districts are required to pay into the pension system is how we got into this mess in the first place," said Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder, "It allows employers to put their payments on a credit card and run up the bill. It was a bad idea 15 years ago, and it's an even worse idea now."

A vote on this is scheduled for Monday, June 23, and the State AFL-CIO urges those concerned to e-mail their legislators.

This, as well as "Right To Work", and other issues of interest to labor are sure to come up more and more as the midterm elections draw closer. The %1 and their allies are working on their message and the Pennsylania AFL-CIO has been working to train workers to communicate. There have been four successful workshops in Harrisburg, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Plymouth Meeting and Pittsburgh, a fifth event is taking place in Erie.

Two other opportunities to prepare for the elections come later in the summer. On July 23, Pittsburgh will host the Community Service Institute, and the Linden Hall Conference Center hosts the COPE Institute from the 22-24 of August.

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