Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)
2nd-term Democrat from New Mexico.
Photo: Senator Udall
Bio & Contact Info
Send Message
Key Bills & Votes
Letters To Leaders
· More Letters to
  Sen. Udall

· Search All

Letters To Leaders
All messages are published with permission of the sender. The general topic of this message is Social Security:
Chained CPI

Sen. Tom Udall

March 11, 2013

Chained CPI discriminates against women who for years have been paid far less than men. Their retirement, both pensions and/or Social Security, are calculated based upon unfair pay differences which adversely affects women. Using my own experience as a University of California retiree from LANL might help you understand my reasoning.

When I was first hired at LANL in June 1972, it was a part time job where I mostly answered the telephone and did filing although I had graduated from college with a degree in biology and a minor in general science with an emphasis in chemistry. However LANL personnel told me my degree was not relevant. From 1972 until August 1983 I worked, raised my sons, and took additional classes in math and computer science, accruing another 60 plus hours. I was finally hired into a staff member position with a 50% pay raise, yet I was still among the most poorly paid, compared to men with the same education and experience. I was a member of the class in the Janet Wing suit when LANL finally had to agree there were pay discrepancies between men and women and had to agreed to try to normalize the differences by not only awarding women higher annual raises but also by an annual flat increase that was not a raise but was designed to bring women's salaries into alignment with men's. This attempt lasted until money became tight in the early 1990s, and LANL stopped awarding women the increase by saying there was not enough money for raises.

After I retired in 1995, in part because of this change in policy, I was employed by an Albuquerque business doing exactly the same type of work at LANL that I did prior to retirement. It may or may not surprise you to learn that until LANL no longer contracted with that company, that my normalized salary was more than what my LANL salary was. This extra salary certainly helped increase the amount I receive from Social Security.

However, even I, and many other female LANL retirees, would be negatively impacted if my social security increases were calculated based upon chained CPI. I am almost 70 years old, and I am still working. My UC pension and Social Security do not adequately cover my expenses, much less any sort of financial or medical emergency. My expenses have increased by far more than any cost of living adjustment. I am sure you have heard much of this from other constituents, but reminding you that even the “rich” Los Alamos residents would be impacted by changes to cost of living increases.

Los Alamos , NM