Pensions are being attacked across the country, and with many states using public employee retirement funds as scapegoats for budget woes, Kansas stands as an example of how to use collaboration to fight back. You can read the complete article on NEAToday.org.
by Mary Ellen Flannery
For those educators looking for a little inspiration in the good fight to protect pensions, a little navel-gazing might be in order. Check out what’s happening in the smack-dab center of the United States.
Pension protection in Kansas started years ago, when troubles with state pensions first began to rumble in neighboring states. At that point, leaders from Kansas National Education Association (KNEA) sat down with their counterparts at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) to build a joint strategy.
“It started with good people sitting down together, looking at each other and making a pact, saying we’re not going to hurt each other,” said Terry Forsyth, KNEA political director.
That simple promise grew into a formal non-profit organization, “Keeping the Kansas Promise,” which represents more than 280,000 Kansans with public pensions, including teachers, firefighters and police officers. It is also part of a larger coalition, called “Kansas United,” which includes at least 29 unions working collaboratively to protect retirement benefits.