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The Assault on Public Worker Union Pensions
Date 11/02/26/16:21

United Public Workers for Action
The Assault on Public Worker Union Pensions:
What is Happening and What Must be Done

“WITH THE ANNUAL GROSS figure…divided by 12 months, [the] average CalPERS school system retiree at $1,192 is not only living at poverty level, they are not achieving a California or national minimum wage figure after years of retirement contributions, which would reach an annual minimum wage level with a $1,386.67 monthly gross retirement benefit, before taxes.” —Catherine D. Alexander, “Defined Benefit Pensions: A Modest Model for Economic Growth and Stability,” (November 17, 2010). Internet Source.

The advocates of the assault on public worker union pension plans claim that: 1) public workers are a “government elite” because they earn more in salary and benefits than private sector workers; 2) public worker unions control the Demo-cratic Party, which in turn carries out the political interests of public worker unions; and, 3) public worker salaries and benefit packages, particularly pensions, are the cause of state and local government budget deficits. The premise of the attack is that public worker unions are “plundering” state and local budgets, which will lead to those governments becoming bankrupt.

The assault on public worker unions and public worker pensions is the response of the capitalist class to the 2007-2008 financial-economic crisis. The outline of the assault includes: 1) brutal cuts in social welfare and public transportation; 2) priva-tization of public education; and, 3) assault on public worker union pensions. The objectives of the capitalist class and its Republican and Democratic collaborators are: 1) to force the working class to pay for the public debt owned to the banks; 2) to completely privatize the public sector to generate profits for corporations; and, 3) to smash organized labor while forcing workers into low-wage employment.

The options for the working class are stark: either rely of the Democratic Party while that party intensifies the implementation of Neo-Liberal policies, policies that will lead to ever deeper crises; or, revive its militant history by unifying, politically mobilize to demand change, and formulate a radical alternative.

That alternative political program must include: 1) nationalizing the financial sector to serve the needs of the society, and not only the wealthy; 2) establishing a real progressive tax structure; 3) implementing massive redistribution of income through public investment, and government job creation, 4) slashing the trillion dollar military budget while giving up the illusion of absolute global hegemony, 5) universal health care based on Single-Payer; and, 6) resuscitating and promoting public life based on social justice, tolerance, diversity, and international cooperation 6) The establishment of a democratic workers party

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