Wow…Our 45th anniversary is here! Forty-five years ago this week, consumer advocate Ralph Nader handed Karen Ferguson a key to an office, a check for $10,000 and told her to “make pensions an issue.” And with those four words, the Pension Rights Center was born. With gumption and a vision for a future where all Americans would have sufficient income to retire with dignity, Karen started the PRC as a much-needed consumer organization. With a dedicated staff, PRC has helped millions of people secure retirement income either through our direct legal assistance or by developing and advocating for critical policy changes in our nation’s laws. So please join us for a virtual glass of champagne as we toast to 45 more years of helping workers, retirees, and their family members get the retirement income they need!
Exciting changes at PRC. As part of the celebration of our milestone anniversary, we have decided, with our board of directors, to make some changes to our organizational structure to build more effectively for the future. Karen Friedman, the Center’s long-time Executive Vice President is now PRC’s Executive Director. Karen Ferguson, who was our Director, is continuing as President. Kyle Garrett, who continues to play a key role in our legal program, is our Chief Operations Officer. And Jane Smith, our Policy Analyst, Emily Gilbert, Outreach Associate, and our wonderful consultants, volunteers and fellows – including Norman Stein, Marith Fisher, Debbie Chalfie, David Brandolph, Maria Freese, Bill Bortz and Terry Deneen – all continue to be a solid part of our amazing Team PRC, helping us address the ever-changing retirement security challenges facing the country.
Parting is such sorrow. After eight years at PRC, our Legal Director, Emily Spreiser, has left to start a Legal Development Program at Freddie Mac. We so appreciate her work in helping to build the legal program and in starting the Initiative on Women and Retirement at Divorce. She will be greatly missed! Now, we are searching for the perfect passionate, public interest-minded lawyer to become our new Legal Director and join the PRC family. See the job description here.
A huge thanks to our 2020 donors. We are incredibly thankful to our many donors who came through to help the Pension Rights Center carry on our important mission– especially in a year of challenges. Thanks to all the organizations and individuals who contributed, we raised more than $300,000 for the year! Among our donors were AARP, Cheiron, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, UPS, the Nussdorf Family Foundation, Stephen R. Bruce Law Offices, the National United Committee to Protect Pensions, the Overlook Foundation, and National Nurses United. See our full list here.
Jazz Musicians Contribute “Service Awards” to PRC. Also, a big thank you to Paul Livant and Andy Snitzer, jazz musicians who were the named plaintiffs in a class action case against trustees of the American Federation of Musicians and Employers Pension Fund (AFM-EPF). Each was awarded $10,000 as part of the settlement of the case, and each donated their awards in full to the Pension Rights Center because “Our participation in the case was never about us, and we wanted our awards to be used to advocate for the pension rights of workers and retirees. We felt that donating the money to PRC was the best way to accomplish this.” Read our press release about the contribution here.
Multiemployer solution closer than ever. Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee marked-up the new Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021. The bill would provide special financial assistance to troubled multiemployer plans meeting certain eligibility criteria to ensure that they can survive into the future and continue paying workers’ and retirees’ benefits. The bill also provides relief to eligible multiemployer plans that previously cut benefits under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act to enable them to restore those benefits, a top priority of the PRC. The bill will be included in a larger Covid-19 relief package. The package is expected to be voted on by the House of Representatives. It will then be considered by the Senate. We and the retirees who have worked tirelessly for seven years to preserve their pensions are hopeful that this new Butch Lewis Act will become law this spring. Read our letter to the Ways and Means Committee in support of the bill here.
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