Wednesday, September 4, 2013

“The latest attempt by bankers, bondholders and lawmakers to break into American workers’ pension funds represents an attempted robbery of epic proportions.”

Machinist Union: 44 million reasons to defend pensions

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers cited “44 million reasons” to defend America’s pensions in a new full-page ad published in USA Today. The ad ran from Friday August 30 to Labor Day, Monday, September 2, 2013.

 “More than 44 million American workers faithfully contributed part of their paychecks every week into U.S. pension funds based on the promise that they would have a measure of financial security at the end of long, hard and often dangerous careers,” the ad reads. “Those pension funds are now being targeted by the same interest groups whose actions ravaged the nation’s economy and drained trillions from home equity and 401(k) savings accounts while using massive taxpayer bailout funds to pad executive bonuses.

“The latest attempt by bankers, bondholders and lawmakers to break into American workers’ pension funds represents an attempted robbery of epic proportions.

“This nation’s pension system is not broken, busted or in need of a radical overhaul that shifts ever more wealth from the nation’s middle class to the top one percent,” the ad continues. “Responsible lawmakers and citizens must demand that America keep its pension promises to workers who expect and deserve nothing less.

“The IAM opposes any proposal that breaks America’s promise of a pension to those who have sacrificed wages in order to ensure a secure retirement for themselves and their families,” IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger said.

“We want the American people to realize that the issue of pensions is not a union issue – it’s an American issue,” IAM General Secretary-Treasurer Robert Roach, Jr. said. “There are 44 million pension holders in the U.S., not all of those are union members. The IAM will continue to lead the fight in shedding light on this important issue and in defending workers’ pensions.”

A copy of the full-page IAM ad is available here.

This was originally posted on Fred Klonsky’s blog.


  1. Until people realize there is a systematic deconstruction of the middle class in Illinois (and across America), corrupt politicians will continue to decimate middle-class citizens in exchange for corporate bankrolling and for other self-interests.

    Members of IEA, IFT and AFSCME must tell their union leadership they will support them, but only if their rights and benefits are protected. Indeed, IAM is a strong union that defends its membership and both Constitutions.

    As we have witnessed, making any concessions will demoralize the membership, weaken the unions, and embolden politicians. Enfeebled unions invite further attacks on public employees and will make unions and their membership irrelevant.

    We cannot trust the Illinois General Assembly: we have 60 years of proof that supports this opinion. Unions must continue to demand pension debt restructuring and structural revenue reform. Concessions are not an option.

    We know the state’s deficits are not the result of state employees' pensions. They are the result of corrupt, incompetent politicians and business leaders in Illinois.

  2. “[Most] Unions, organizations formerly steeped in the doctrine of class struggle and filled with those who sought broad social and political rights for the working class, have been transformed into domesticated partners of the capitalist class. They have been reduced to simple bartering tools. The social demands of unions early in the twentieth century that gave the working class weekends off, the right to strike, the eight-hour day, and Social Security have been abandoned” (Hedges, Chris. The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress. New York: Nation Books, 2010).