As a union president, I often hear, “what’s the union ever done for me?” and I reply, “pull up a chair.”

One of the first things I speak about is pensions, because protecting pensions is an ongoing battle that is always at the forefront.  With bleak predictions about a downturn in the economy, pensions will be one of the major punching bags, taking hit after hit as certain politicians try to take away promises made.

The anti-pension fire is being fueled and, just as it has in the past, it will spread out of control very quickly with possible legislation being proposed, and possible initiatives on the ballot – followed by years of court cases.  Who fights for your pension at the state Capitol, as voters go to the polls, and before judges in the courtroom?  YOUR UNION, and a COALITION OF UNIONS!   Unions go to the battlefield on your behalf.

As a union president, I spend a great deal of time meeting and educating lawmakers about pensions, stressing that our members were not only promised pensions, they earned them.  True leaders recognize that upon retirement, those who collect pensions, contribute to the economy.  They are not evil individuals; they are people who worked for decades with the promise of retirement security.  They sacrificed to perform law enforcement, public safety, and consumer protection duties and it is their time to step away from the workforce and enjoy some well-deserved time to focus on themselves, their health, their families, their travels, their hobbies, their enjoyment.

Those who choose union membership, choose to be a positive force in the fight to protect pensions – and yes, it takes money to be a force.  Union dues are indeed used in the fight to protect pensions.  Those who are eligible to join a union and don’t, aren’t seeing the big picture, not only are they not supportive of their own futures, they are not supportive of the future of their union dues-paying co-workers – the ones who invest in protection.  They don’t mind benefiting from the work unions do, they’re just willing to let someone else pay for it.