WHAT: Officers of AFGE's Social Security Council will testify before the Senate Democratic Policy Committee on use of Social Security Administration personnel and resources to promote Social Security privatization
WHERE: 628 Dirksen Senate Office Building
WHEN: Friday, January 28, 2005 10:00 a.m.
(WASHINGTON) - Elected officers of the Social Security Council of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) will testify before the Senate Democratic Policy Committee on use of Social Security Administration (SSA) personnel and resources to promote Social Security privatization. The hearing was called by the Committee to investigate recent reports in the media that brought to light efforts on the part of SSA to enroll professional employees in the campaign to convince the American public of an impending financial crisis for Social Security. Under federal law, agency funds must not be used for propaganda purposes unless they are specifically designated for such use by act of Congress.
AFGE will allege that field communications staff were instructed to discuss pessimistic funding projections at public forums. The SSA website, 1-800 help line, and annual benefits statements mailed to the public, all contained information hyping projected funding problems. Until recently, SSA, as an independent agency, remained completely neutral on political issues, and its employees did not engage the public on issues of political debate.
The names of the union officials who will testify on Friday are currently being withheld to protect their identities and prevent any potential retaliation.
The Social Security Council, officially known as the National Council of SSA Field Operations Locals (Council 220), represents the 50,000 employees of the Social Security Administration who work in field offices and all national calling centers.
The American Federation of Government Employees is the largest federal employee union, representing 600,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.