The New Jersey State AFL-CIO, in partnership with its affiliates and allies, worked tirelessly this year to illuminate the Christie administration’s mismanagement of the pension system and the consequences that could befall our state if meaningful action is not taken.
CLICK HERE to read the full op-ed.Read more
Fees to Wall Street, Low-Performing Hedge Fund Investments Significantly Cut After Union-Led Campaign
After a year-long campaign, labor unions succeeded in achieving the largest reductions in Wall Street fees and hedge fund investments in the history of the New Jersey pension fund. The State Investment Council unanimously approved these changes on Wednesday, August 3, 2016. The decision will reduce the plan’s hedge fund allocation by more than half from the current 12.5% to 6% in FY17. The decision will also address a long-standing concern from pension beneficiaries by reducing the total alternative investment allocation from 32% to 26% of the pension fund. The New Jersey State AFL-CIO and union representatives on the panel have worked aggressively, for over a year, to achieve today’s results and were proud to receive support of administration representatives after a compromise was struck.Read more
Workers Continue Fight to Advance Stalled TTF Bill
Workers filled the streets and halls of the capitol complex today as the state Senate took up crucial legislation concerning unemployment compensation for strikers, and a deadline loomed to place the pension funding question on the ballot this year.
With thousands of jobs on the line, workers also realize the necessity of funding the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF). The New Jersey State AFL-CIO supports the compromise funding bill, S-2411/A-12, and will continue to prevail upon legislators to take up and approve this legislation. CLICK HERE to urge your legislator to support TTF funding now.
During a noon rally in front of the Statehouse, hundreds of union members called on legislators to approve a measure that would place the pension funding question on the ballot for voters to decide. The deadline for the Senate to act is August 8th. It is therefore imperative that every union member lend his or her voice to this effort. CLICK HERE to send a message to your state Senator now and show your solidarity for our brothers and sisters.Read more
With Transportation Trust Fund legislation (S-2111/A-11 & S-2412/A-10) being released from Committee with bipartisan support on Thursday, we now look to Monday when we anticipate the bills being posted in both houses.
We respectfully ask all affiliates to come to the State House on Monday, June 27, 2016, to personally speak with legislators and urge them to support these important bills. Caucuses begin at 10:00 a.m. and the first voting session begins at 1:00 p.m.Read more
A resolution that would benefit working families moved forward on Monday, due to the advocacy of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO and our dedicated affiliates.
The Assembly Judiciary Committee advanced resolution ACR-109, which asks voters to amend the Constitution to require the state to make its required pension payments on a quarterly basis. If the full Assembly votes for the measure and the Senate approves a similar resolution (SCR-2), voters would decide this November whether the state must live up to its pension obligation for nearly 800,000 active and retired public workers.Read more
The next two legislative session days are important to working families, as bills on the minimum wage, prevailing wages and pension funding are scheduled to be considered. Please join us in Trenton to show your support for these significant pieces of legislation that will benefit our union brothers and sisters and working people throughout the state.
This Thursday, May 19, at 10:00 a.m. in the Statehouse Annex, Committee Room 15, the Assembly Labor Committee will consider a bill (A-15) to gradually raise New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, giving low-wage workers a much needed raise in this high-cost state.Read more
The New Jersey State AFL-CIO and its affiliated public employee unions presented a plan to the State Investment Council on Wednesday to responsibly scale back the percentage of alternative investments in the state pension fund portfolio, thereby drastically reducing the astronomical fees paid to Wall Street to manage these alternatives.
The concerns of public employee unions over Wall Street management fees have intensified as the percentage of alternative investments in the state pension system has grown. In FY15, 36% of New Jersey’s pension fund portfolio was invested in alternatives such as hedge funds and private equity, significantly higher than the national average of 25% invested in alternatives. These alternative investments managed by outsiders cost New Jersey $701 million in fees and bonuses in FY15. The year before, the tab was $600 million.Read more
The New Jersey Supreme Court held oral arguments Monday in a case brought by public retirees over the indefinite suspension of cost-of-living adjustments to their pensions. The Senate and Assembly held full voting sessions, and advocates for gender pay equity held a press conference to urge the governor to sign the legislation.
Here is a rundown of the action:
COLA Case. Attorneys for public-sector retirees argued that cost-of-living adjustments are part of their pension benefits package to which they have a contractual right that cannot be taken away. Cost-of-living adjustments were eliminated in 2011, triggering the lawsuit. Lower courts have ruled in favor of the retirees. The case will be decided by June 30.Read more
Compensation Skyrockets Despite Outperformance By In-House Managers for the Past 5 Years
The New Jersey State Investment Council quietly released the final version of the 2015 annual report last week, and it confirms that investments in New Jersey’s pension system are benefitting Wall Street fund managers in astounding numbers: The pension funds paid a record $728 million in investment management fees and bonuses to outside firms in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015. In FY15, fees swallowed almost 20% of the fund’s investment income (i.e., investment return, gross of fees, was 5.1%, and fees were 0.9%, with net investment return being just 4.2%).
“It’s outrageous that Wall Street millionaires are becoming Wall Street billionaires at the expense of middle-class workers and retirees,” said Charles Wowkanech, president of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO. “New Jersey’s retired public workers receive a $26,000 per year pension on average, so the only people getting rich off our pension system are the managers reaping obscene fees and bonuses.”Read more