For our retired members and those hired before January 1, 2012, your union is fighting hard for you and your families every day to ensure that you receive the benefits you believed were promised to you from day one of your employment. A full update on our legal battles follows this article.
But what about our new hires? What is to become of them? We do not believe the NH legislature has given appropriate consideration to new hires as we have undergone the legislative pension changes we have endured over the last six years.
The legislature has inappropriately shifted most of its responsibility to provide public workers with a livable pension from the employer to the worker. Under the new pension system, the normal pension cost for employers was reduced by charging the employees more and significantly cutting benefits. Right now 95% of the employer cost for a new employee goes to pay for the unfunded liability and only 5% of the cost goes to pay for the benefit. In essence, the employee is funding 90% of their own pension. If this continues without any mitigation, within 30 years public workers will not be able to survive on their pension and will likely be on social services.
In an effort to assist new hires, the NH Retirement Security Coalition, of which SEA/SEIU Local 1984 is a member, has worked with sponsor Senator Sylvia Larsen to introduce legislation, SB 364, aimed at securing a dignified retirement for individuals hired after January 1, 2012. The bill establishes a supplemental savings plan in which employees will be enrolled. The employer would make a contribution of 4%. The plan would be housed in the NH Retirement System and its funds invested alongside the current defined benefit plan. This plan would provide new hires with security and portability that younger workers deserve.
Any and all changes to the retirement system affect us whether we are brand new, or many years into our retirement. We must unite as one in order to ensure the longevity and sustainability of the retirement system. We will continue to provide you with updates about this legislation as it makes its way through the system.