After incredible support for my Save the Wisconsin Retirement System petition, I decided to join POWRS (Protect Our Wisconsin Retirement Security), a committed group of retired activists from all across Wisconsin. We monitor proposed legislation and speak out in opposition to changes that will weaken what we believe is the finest retirement system in the U.S. We communicate via email and freeconferencecall.com in bimonthly telephone conversations on Mondays at 9:30 a.m.

We also meet occasionally in person at a centrally located site. We are currently seeking two new steering committee members and volunteers who can help out as needed. Why join us?

POWRS is a vigilant and trusted “pension danger alert response system.” In crisis situations, we use our FaceBook and email lists to provide critical information quickly. Striking language from the Budget Bill that would have changed the composition of the Joint Survey Committee on Retirement Systems in July 2015 is an example of our success.

POWRS is a go-to source for media contact. We do radio, print and online interviews. WRS annuitants, actives, their families and supporters as well as the general public depend upon us for reliable information.

POWRS is a conduit for communication. We have created a White Paper outlining our beliefs and our message. We compose well-researched, in-depth articles about retirement security issues that are posted online for free dissemination. We distribute timely handouts at a variety of venues. We make appearances and presentations at events such as the Grassroots Network Festival in Mazomanie and BobFest.

POWRS is a link to several other like-minded organizations. We have a close relationship with WIARA (Wisconsin Alliance of Retired Americans). WIARA has graciously given us a page on its website to allow public access to our documents (wisconsinara.or – click POWRS link). We attend Wisconsin Coalition of Annuitants (WCOA) and Association of Career Employees (ACE) meetings to network with these respected groups.

POWRS is a change agent. We are working to address the pension crisis looming in America. Stagnant wages, the Great Recession, and lack of access to defined benefit retirement programs has led to a perilously insecure financial future for a huge number of future retirees. Not only is this the right thing to do, we believe the WRS will not survive if workers in the private sector do not also have retirement security.

POWRS is an influential voice in the legislative process. In December 2015 POWRS Steering Committee member Roger Springman testified before the Senate Committee on Labor and Government in support of SB 45. Introduced by Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and

Representative Eric Gingrich (D-Green Bay), SB 45 authorizes the study of a WRS-modeled retirement program for the private sector.

POWRS is an active and engaged participant in the retirement security discussion. We will be attending and presenting at various forums next year. We are preparing a Retire with Security power point presentation for distribution to interested groups. We are working to partner with similarly-minded organizations to host a statewide conference on “Retirement Security for All”.

Though POWRS has had considerable success, we cannot stop working. We remain convinced that there are those in Madison who seek to ultimately privatize the WRS. Please join us. This is your livelihood we are talking about.