Worker Power Update
New 2022 Poll: Workers' Rights are a Top Election Issue
A new Senate battleground states poll commissioned by CWA and the Worker Power Coalition, the largest U.S. labor-progressive alliance in the country, shows that 87% of young voters under 40 say that a top issue motivating them to vote is support for workers’ rights. The polling results suggest that candidates could increase participation among young voters by embracing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and focusing on lifting workers’ wages. Support for the PRO Act cuts across party lines even in the tightest toss-up races in the country.
“Now more than ever, young workers see unions as their best shot at higher wages and better working conditions, but until we pass the Protecting the Right To Organize Act, they are up against employers who are retaliating with impunity,” said CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens. “If young workers are going to turn out and vote for Democrats, they need evidence beyond just words of support that candidates are on their side. A Senate vote to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act will prove that Democrats mean what they say when it comes to workers' rights.” Read more here.
CWA Member Raises Concerns About Pension Takeover at Senate Banking Committee Hearing
Colleen Riedel, a Lumen Technologies retiree, submitted testimony to the Senate Committee On Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs raising concerns about the recent transition of pension annuities for 22,600 Lumen retirees and beneficiaries from the Lumen Combined Pension Plan to the Athene Annuity and Life Company. The Athene Annuity and Life Company is owned by Apollo Global Management, a private equity firm that has also entered into a separate agreement with Lumen Technologies to purchase operations in 20 Midwest and Southeast states in a $7.5 billion deal that will impact 1,200 CWA-represented workers.
Riedel described how she started experiencing significant disruptions in the administration of her benefit since the transition, including the loss of protections under the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, a federally chartered corporation that preserves pension benefits in the event that the plan cannot make payments. “This issue of a government backstop is especially concerning to me because private equity companies like Apollo Global Management have a track record of prioritizing short-term profits at the expenses of workers and retirees,” she said. She also thanked Committee Chairman Senator Sherrod Brown (Ohio) for calling attention to risks retirees face from these schemes. “I have been glad to see that Chairman Brown has been a leader on this issue and has pushed for greater transparency and analysis of the increasing role that private equity companies are playing in the administration of life insurance and annuity benefits,” said Riedel.