UAW on Retirement Security:
UAW has long advocated for retirement security for all working Americans, both at the bargaining table and in the halls of Congress. The UAW firmly believes that all Americans deserve a dignified and secure retirement supported by an employer-provided defined benefit retirement plan, personal savings and Social Security. We have played an important role in creating defined benefit pension plans, strengthened defined contribution plans and have championed the Social Security program. Social Security benefits have proven to be an important lifeline for tens of millions of American seniors. However, opponents of workers have repeatedly tried to weaken the benefits by claiming the program is facing a crisis.

Social Security trust fund is largely financed by the payroll tax. If the payroll tax was eliminated, this would put Social Security at risk. In fact, SS would face shortfalls in 2023. The UAW is opposed to eliminating the payroll tax. 


Almost all workers participate in Social Security by making payroll tax contributions, and almost all elderly Americans receive Social Security benefits. In fact, 97 percent of the elderly (aged 60 to 89) either receive Social Security or will receive it.

Social Security is financed through a dedicated payroll tax, paid by employees and employers alike. Payroll taxes account for 89% of Social Security’s revenue.  Policies to temporarily defer and/or permanently repeal the payroll tax will put Social Security in jeopardy.  Executive action was taken in August to temporarily defer payroll taxes which funds Social Security and Medicare.  If a permanent payroll tax cut were put in place, it could deplete the Social Security Trust fund by mid-2023.

Without Social Security benefits, about 4 in 10 Americans aged 65 and older would have incomes below the poverty line, all else being equal, according to official estimates based on the 2018 Current Population Survey. Social Security benefits lift more than 15 million elderly Americans out of poverty.

Medicare plays a key role in providing health and financial security to 60 million older people. Like Social Security, Medicare is a social safety net program that Americans pay into during their working years through taxes. The program helps to pay for many medical services, including hospitalizations, physician visits, prescription drugs and preventive services.

Medicaid provides health care coverage to 7.2 million seniors. Medicaid is the principal source of long-term care coverage for seniors covering nursing home care and other long-term services and supports, as well as other medical care and supportive services that Medicare doesn’t cover. It also covers premiums, deductibles, and cost-sharing for Medicare beneficiaries.

Another avenue for retirement security is defined benefit plans. Several of these plans were first established by UAW members. Unfortunately, in recent decades many employers have stopped offering defined benefits, consequently workers have had to face uncertainty over whether their benefits could be cut after decades of contributing their hard-earned investments. The House passed the Butch Lewis Act (H.R. 397) to strengthen multi-employer pension plans, which cover millions of union retirees. The UAW endorsed the Butch Lewis Act aimed at helping multi-employer plans that are in danger of going insolvent by establishing a federal loan program to protect the retirement income security of over 1 million workers, retirees and pension beneficiaries across the country. However, the Senate must vote on it before it can be signed into law.

According to a recent survey, one in five adults have nothing saved for retirement or emergencies. The COVID 19 downturn threatens to further undermine American’s vulnerable retirement systems. According to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, half of all working adults were not saving enough for retirement even when unemployment was low, now that unemployment is so widespread, that number is closer to 55%.


Retiring with dignity and protecting the benefits you have rightfully earned

Social Security

Pension plans

Medicare and Medicaid programs

DEMOCRAT – Joseph Biden and Retirement Security

Biden plans to strengthen Social Security by:

Giving it long-term solvency by raising or removing the cap on high wage earners so that people with especially high wages would pay the same taxes on those earnings that middle-class families pay.

Increasing payments to older Americans who have been receiving Social Security for at least 20 years.

Implementing a new minimum benefit of 125% of the poverty level for Americans who spend 30 years working.

Increasing benefits for surviving spouses.

Biden plans to lower the cost of prescription drugs for seniors. He supports repealing the exception allowing drug corporations to avoid negotiating with Medicare over high cost drugs, such as insulin. Since Medicare covers so many Americans, if allowed, it could use its significant leverage to lower drug prices.

Biden supports keeping Medicare as a distinct and separate program and wants to ensure that there is no disruption to the current Medicare system.

Biden is against privatization of Social Security and means testing.

Biden supports the Butch Lewis Act, which aims to save multiemployer pension plans covering millions of union retirees. It was passed in the House but has not been passed by the Senate.

Biden would help older Americans who want to keep working by making the Earned Income Tax credit available to those over 65.

Biden supports protecting Medicaid and ensuring that seniors can access home and community based long-term care services. Medicaid pays for more long-term care than any other insurer in the country. In fact, roughly, 6 in 10 individuals residing in nursing homes are enrolled in Medicaid, including many older Americans.


Retirement security is a top issue in the 2020 elections.

Social security, Medicare, Medicaid and defined pension programs provide a critical lifeline for millions of seniors across the country, yet these programs are continually under attack.

It is important to know the voting records and where candidates stand on these vital programs before casting your ballot.

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