John F. Kennedy: Executive Order 10988

President John F. Kennedy
The American Presidency Project
January 17, 1962

While President Franklin D. Roosevelt opposed collective bargaining by government employees, it wasn't until President Kennedy that government employees were able to collectively bargain at the federal level. Executive Order 10988 is below which first granted the federal employees collective bargaining.


WHEREAS participation of employees in the formulation and implementation of personnel policies affecting them contributes to effective conduct of public business; and

WHEREAS the efficient administration of the Government and the well-being of employees require that orderly and constructive relationships be maintained between employee organizations and management officials; and

WHEREAS subject to law and the paramount requirements of the public service, employee-management relations within the Federal service should be improved by providing employees an opportunity for greater participation in the formulation and implementation of policies and procedures affecting the conditions of their employment; and

WHEREAS effective employee-management cooperation in the public service requires a clear statement of the respective rights and obligations of employee organizations and agency management:

NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution of the United States, by section 1753 of the Revised Statutes (5 U.S.C. 631), and as President of the United States, I hereby direct that the following policies shall govern officers and agencies of the executive branch of the Government in all dealings with Federal employees and organizations representing such employees.

SECTION 1. (a) Employees of the Federal Government shall have, and shall be protected in the exercise of, the right, freely and without feel of penalty or reprisal, to form, join and assist any employee organization or to refrain from any such activity. Except as hereinafter expressly provided, the freedom of such employees to assist any employee organization shall be recognized as extending to participation in the management of the organization and acting for the organization in the capacity of an organization representative, including presentation of its views to officials of the executive branch, the Congress or other appropriate authority. The head of each executive department and agency (hereinafter referred to as "agency") shall take such action, consistent with law, as may be required in order to assist that employees in the agency are apprised of the rights described in this section, and that no interference, restraint, coercion or discrimination is practiced within such agency to encourage or discourage membership in any employee organization.

(b) The rights described in this section do not extend to participation in the management of an employee organization, or acting as a representative of any such organization, where such participation or activity would result in a conflict of interest or otherwise be incompatible with law or with the official duties of an employee.

SEC. 2. When used in this order, the term "employee organization" means any lawful association, labor organization, federation, council, or brotherhood having as a primary purpose the improvement of working conditions among Federal employees or any craft, trade or industrial union whose membership includes both Federal employees and employees of private organizations; but such term shall not include any organization (1) which asserts the right to strike against the Government of the United States or any agency thereof, or to assist or participate in any such strike, or which imposes a duty or obligation to conduct, assist or participate in any such strike, or (2) which advocates the overthrow of the constitutional form of Government in the United States, or (3) which discriminates with regard to the terms or conditions of membership because of race, color, creed or national origin.

SEC. 3. (a) Agencies shall accord informal, formal or exclusive recognition to employee organizations which request such recognition in conformity with the requirements specified in sections 4, 5 and 6 of this order, except that no recognition shall be accorded to any employee organization which the head of the agency considers to be so subject to corrupt influences or influences opposed to basic democratic principles that recognition would be inconsistent with the objectives of this order.

(b) Recognition of an employee organization will continue so long as such organization satisfies the criteria of this order applicable to such recognition; but nothing in this section shall require any agency to determine whether an organization should become or continue to be recognized as exclusive representative of the employees in any unit within 12 months after a prior determination of exclusive status with respect to such unit has been made pursuant to the provisions of this order.

(c) Recognition, in whatever form accorded, shall not—

(1) preclude any employee, regardless of employee organization membership, from bringing matters of personal concern to the attention of appropriate officials in accordance with applicable law rule, regulation, or established agency policy, or from choosing his own representative in a grievance or appellate action; or

(2) preclude or restrict consultations and dealings between an agency and any veterans organization with respect to matters of particular interest to employees with veterans preference; or

(3) preclude an agency from consulting or dealing with any religious, social, fraternal or other lawful association, not qualified as an employee organization, with respect to matters or policies which involve individual members of the association or are of particular applicability to it or its members, when such consultations or dealings are duly limited so as not to assume the character of formal consultation on matters of general employee-management policy or to extend to areas where recognition of the interests of one employee group may result in discrimination against or injury to the interests of other employees.

SEC. 4. (a) An agency shall accord an employee organization, which does not qualify for exclusive or formal recognition, informal recognition as representative of its member employees without regard to whether any other employee organization has been accorded formal or exclusive recognition as representative of some or all employees in any unit.

(b) When an employee organization has been informally recognized, it shall, to the extent consistent with the efficient and orderly conduct of the public business, be permitted to present to appropriate officials its views on matters of concern to its members. The agency need not, however, consult with an employee organization so recognized in the formulation of personnel or other policies with respect to such matters.

SEC. 5. (a) An agency shall accord an employee organization formal recognition as the representative of its members in a unit as defined by the agency when (1) no other employee organization is qualified for exclusive recognition as representative of employees in the unit, (2) it is determined by the agency that the employee organization has a substantial and stable membership of no less than 10 per cent of the employees in the unit, and (3) the employee organization has submitted to the agency a roster of its officers and representatives, a copy of its constitution and by-laws, and a statement of objectives. When, in the opinion of the head of an agency, an employee organization has a sufficient number of local organizations or a sufficient total membership within such agency, such organization may be accorded formal recognition at the national level, but such recognition shall not preclude the agency from dealing at the national level with any other employee organization on matters affecting its members.

(b) When an employee organization has been formally recognized, the agency, through appropriate officials, shall consult with such organization from time to time in the formulation and implementation of personnel policies and practices, and matters affecting working conditions that are of concern to its members. Any such organization shall be entitled from time to time to raise such matters for discussion with appropriate officials and at all times to present its views thereon in writing. In no case, however, shall an agency be required to consult with an employee organization which has been formally recognized with respect to any matter which, if the employee organization were one entitled to exclusive recognition, would not be included within the obligation to meet and confer, as described in section 6 (b) of this order.

SEC. 6. (a) An agency shall recognize an employee organization as the exclusive representative of the employees, in an appropriate unit when such organization is eligible for formal recognition pursuant to section 5 of this order, and has been designated or selected by a majority of the employees of such unit as the representative of such employees in such unit. Units may be established on any plant or installation, craft, functional or other basis which will ensure a clear and identifiable community of interest among the employees concerned, but no unit shall be established solely on the basis of the extent to which employees in the proposed unit have organized. Except where otherwise required by established practice, prior agreement, or special circumstances, no unit shall be established for purposes of exclusive recognition which includes (1) any managerial executive, (2) any employee engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity, (3) both supervisors who officially evaluate the performance of employees and the employees whom they supervise, or (4) both professional employees and nonprofessional employees unless a majority of such professional employees vote for inclusion in such unit.

(b) When an employee organization has been recognized as the exclusive representative of employees of an appropriate unit it shall be entitled to act for and to negotiate agreements covering all employees in the unit and shall be responsible for representing the interests of all such employees without discrimination and without regard to employee organization membership. Such employee organization shall be given the opportunity to be represented at discussions between management and employees or employee representatives concerning grievances, personnel policies and practices, or other matters affecting general working conditions of employees in the unit. The agency and such employee organization, through appropriate officials and representatives, shall meet at reasonable times and confer with respect to personnel policy and practices and matters affecting working conditions, so far as may be appropriate subject to law and policy requirements. This extends to the negotiation of an agreement, or any question arising thereunder, the determination of appropriate techniques, consistent with the terms and purposes of this order, to assist in such negotiation, and the execution of a written memorandum of agreement or understanding incorporating any agreement reached by the parties. In exercising authority to make rules and regulations relating to personnel policies and practices and working conditions, agencies shall have due regard for the obligation imposed by this section, but such obligation shall not be construed to extend to such areas of discretion and policy as the mission of an agency, its budget, its organization and the assignment of its personnel, or the technology of performing its work.

SEC. 7. Any basic or initial agreement entered into with an employee organization as the exclusive representative of employees in a unit must be approved by the head of the agency or an official designated by him. All agreements with such employee or organizations shall also be subject to the following requirements, which shall be expressly stated in the initial or basic agreement and shall be applicable to all supplemental, implementing, subsidiary or informal agreements between the agency and the organization:

(1) In the administration of all matters covered by the agreement officials and employees are governed by the provisions of any existing or future laws and regulations, including policies set forth in the Federal Personnel Manual and agency regulations, which may be applicable, and the agreement shall at all times be applied subject to such laws, regulations and policies;

(2) Management officials of the agency retain the right, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, (a) to direct employees of the agency, (b) to hire, promote, transfer, assign, and retain employees in positions within the agency, and to suspend, demote, discharge, or take other disciplinary action against employees, (c) to relieve employees from duties because of lack of work or for other legitimate reasons, (d) to maintain the efficiency of the Government operations entrusted to them, (e) to determine the methods, means and personnel by which such operations are to be conducted; and (f) to take whatever actions may be necessary to carry out the mission of the agency in situations of emergency.

SEC. 8. (a) Agreements entered into or negotiated in accordance with this order with an employee organization which is the exclusive representative of employees in an appropriate unit may contain provisions, applicable only to employees in the unit, concerning procedures for consideration of grievances. Such procedures (1) shall conform to standards issued by the Civil Service Commission, and (2) may not in any manner diminish or impair any rights which would otherwise be available to any employee in the absence of an agreement providing for such procedures.

(b) Procedures established by an agreement which are otherwise in conformity with this section may include provisions for the arbitration of grievances. Such arbitration ( 1 ) shall be advisory in nature with any decisions or recommendations subject to the approval of the agency head; (2) shall extend only to the interpretation or application of agreements or agency policy and not to changes in or proposed changes in agreements or agency policy; and (3) shall be invoked only with the approval of the individual employee or employees concerned.

SEC. 9. Solicitation of memberships, dues, or other internal employee organization business shall be conducted during the non-duty hours of the employees concerned. Officially requested or approved consultations and meetings between management officials and representatives of recognized employee organizations shall, whenever practicable, be conducted on official time, but any agency may require that negotiations with an employee organization which has been accorded exclusive recognition be conducted during the non-duty hours of the employee organization representatives involved in such negotiations.

SEC. 10. No later than July 1, 1962, the head of each agency shall issue appropriate policies, rules and regulations for the implementation of this order, including: A clear statement of the rights of its employees under the order, policies and procedures with respect to recognition of employee organizations; procedures for determining appropriate employee units; policies and practices regarding consultation with representatives of employee organizations, other organizations and individual employees; and policies with respect to the use of agency facilities by employee organizations. Insofar as may be practicable and appropriate, agencies shall consult with representatives of employee organizations in the formulation of these policies, rules and regulations.

SEC. 11. Each agency shall be responsible for determining in accordance with this order whether a unit is appropriate for purposes of exclusive recognition and, by an election or other appropriate means whether an employee organization represents a majority of the employees in such a unit so as to be entitled to such recognition. Upon the request of any agency, or of any employee organization which is seeking exclusive recognition and which qualifies for or has been accorded formal recognition, the Secretary of Labor, subject to such necessary rules as he may prescribe, shall nominate from the National Panel of Arbitrators maintained by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service one or more qualified arbitrators who will be available for employment by the agency concerned for either or both of the following purposes, as may be required: (1) to investigate the facts and issue an adsvisory decision as to the appropriateness of a unit for purposes of exclusive recognition and as to related issues submitted for consideration; (2) to conduct or supervise an election or otherwise determine by such means as may be appropriate, and on an advisory basis, whether an employee organization represents the majority of the employees in a unit. Consonant with law, the Secretary of Labor shall render such assistance as may be appropriate in connection with advisory decisions or determinations under this section, but the necessary costs of such assistance shall be paid by the agency to which it relates. In the event questions as to the appropriateness of a unit or the majority status of an employee organization shall arise in the Department of Labor, the duties described in this section which would otherwise be the responsibility of the Secretary of Labor shall be performed by the Civil Service Commission.

SEC. 12. The Civil Service Commission shall establish and maintain a program to assist in carrying out the objectives of this order. The Commission shall develop a program for the guidance of agencies in employee-management relations in the Federal service; provide technical advice to the agencies on employee-management programs; assist in the development of programs for training agency personnel in the principles and procedures of consultation, negotiation and the settlement of disputes in the Federal service, and for the training of management officials in the discharge of their employee-management relations responsibilities in the public interest; provide for continuous study and review of the Federal employee-management relations program and, from time to time, make recommendations to the President for its improvement.

SEC. 13. (a) The Civil Service Commission and the Department of Labor shall jointly prepare (1) proposed standards of conduct for employee organizations and (2) a proposed code of fair labor practices in employee-management relations in the Federal service appropriate to assist in securing the uniform and effective implementation of the policies, rights and responsibilities described in this order.

(b) There is hereby established the President's Temporary Committee on the Implementation of the Federal Employee-Management Relations Program. The Committee shall consist of the Secretary of Labor, who shall be chairman of the Committee, the Secretary of Defense, the Postmaster General, and the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission. In addition to such other matters relating to the implementation of this order as may be referred to it by the President, the Committee shall advise the President with respect to any problems arising out of completion of agreements pursuant to sections 6 and 7, and shall receive the proposed standards of conduct for employee organizations and proposed code of fair labor practices in the Federal service, as described in this section, and report thereon to the President with such recommendations or amendments as it may deem appropriate. Consonant with law, the departments and agencies represented on the Committee shall, as may be necessary for the effectuation of this section, furnish assistance to the Committee in accordance with section 214 of the Act of May 3, 1945, 59 Stat. 134 (31 U.S.C. 691). Unless otherwise directed by the President, the Committee shall cease to exist 30 days after the date on which it submits its report to the President pursuant to this section.

SEC. 14. The head of each agency, in accordance with the provisions of this order and regulations prescribed by the Civil Service Commission, shall extend to all employees in the competitive civil service rights identical in adverse action cases to those provided preference eligibles under section 14 of the Veterans' Preference Act of 1944, as amended. Each employee in the competitive service shall have the right to appeal to the Civil Service Commission from an adverse decision of the administrative officer so acting, such appeal to be processed in an identical manner to that provided for appeals under section 14 of the Veterans' Preference Act. Any recommendation by the Civil Service Commission submitted to the head of an agency on the basis of an appeal by an employee in the competitive service shall be complied with by the head of the agency. This section shall become effective as to all adverse actions commenced by issuance of a notification of proposed action on or after July 1, 1962.

SEC. 15. Nothing in this order shall be construed to annul or modify, or to preclude the renewal or continuation of, any lawful agreement heretofore entered into between any agency and any representative of its employees. Nor shall this order preclude any agency from continuing to consult or deal with any representative of its employees or other organization prior to the time that the status and representation rights of such representative or organization are determined in conformity with this order.

SEC. 16. This order (except section 14) shall not apply to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, or any other agency, or to any office, bureau or entity within an agency, primarily performing intelligence, investigative, or security functions if the head of the agency determines that the provisions of this order cannot be applied in a manner consistent with national security requirements and considerations. When he deems it necessary in the national interest, and subject to such conditions as he may prescribe, the head of any agency may suspend any provision of this order (except section 14) with respect to any agency installation or activity which is located outside of the United States.

Approved—January 17th, 1962.

January 17, 1962

Library Topic
Library Topic: Public Pensions Crisis

More About This Topic...

Click thumbnails below to view links

Quote Page

Commentary or Blog Post

California pension funds have massively hemorrhaged since the economic downturn of 2008. Indeed, Gov. Schwarzenegger “told reporters last week that the big pension funds could face an estimated $300-billion shortfall in covering the cost of pensions to current and future retirees.” According to the LA Times, this “tremendous drop in the portfolios' value is...

"The raucous Wisconsin debate over collective bargaining may be ugly at times, but it has been worth it for the splendid public education. For the first time in decades, Americans have been asked to look under the government hood at the causes of runaway spending. What they are discovering is the monopoly power of government unions that have long been on a...

"The state of California's real unfunded pension debt clocks in at more than $500 billion, nearly eight times greater than officially reported.

That's the finding from a study released Monday by Stanford University's public policy program, confirming a recent report with similar, stunning findings from Northwestern University and...

Merrill of the Mercatus Center at GMU states that "what's happened is that states can and do promise to public employees benefits that are unrealistically high given the state's financial forecasts -- in part...

Whoriskey writes that the current market downturn “is ravaging public pension funds across the United States, with many state and local governments seeing more than 20 percent of their retirement pools swept away in the turmoil.” With roughly 60 percent of public pension assets invested in stocks, it’s of little surprise that pension funds are experiencing such...

Edmondson writes, “Portraying government employees as the ‘haves’ and private sector employees as the ‘have-nots’ is a creative, but inaccurate twist on historical reality.  This strategy is a sad new chapter in the painful story of an excruciating economic downturn that has negatively affected every citizen. It is a tactic that pits hardworking people on both...

"A public worker gets promised a pension. If the correct value, based on best assumptions, is not set aside to fund that pension, then we have the equivalent of a theft of services. Future taxpayers will have to make up for past underfunding, a Ponzi scheme will ensue, or those promises will not be kept despite whatever laws (which politicians have a way of interpreting to their advantage as...

"State governments have reported unfunded pension liabilities—the difference between what plans have promised to pay public workers and the assets set aside to pay out these benefits—of $452 billion as of June 2009. ... Estimates place the shortfall in local plans at an additional $190 billion. ... These reported figures, however, severely underestimate the pension obligations governments owe...

"'Public pension funds across the U.S. are hiding the size of a crisis that’s been looming for years. Retirement plans play accounting games with numbers, giving the illusion that the funds are healthy—this paper alchemy gives governors and legislators the easy choice to contribute too little or nothing to the funds, year after year.' Deferment and quick fixes now...

Even though the “state issued $10.1 billion in pension obligation bonds in 2003 to reduce unfunded liabilities, the borrowing is a gamble because the state must repay the money with interest over 30 years. To do this without turning to taxpayers, the state will have to earn average annual returns on investments that exceed the 5.05 percent interest rate on the...

"A California dustup over large pension payments is shining a spotlight on the practice of spiking -- increasing a salary just before retirement and boosting the lifelong payout.


The practice is getting more attention amid growing concerns about the sustainability of guaranteed pension payouts for public employees after...

"Recently, workers with employer-sponsored 401(k) plans have taken it on the chin. The bear market has hurt anyone who invested their 401(k) money in stocks, and many employees who invested too much in their employer's stock have seen huge losses.

401(k) plans have behaved so badly that many are now calling for significant reform, or even these plans' outright abolition. Yet before you...

"Here's a dilemma: You manage a public employee pension plan and your actuary tells you it is significantly underfunded. You don't want to raise contributions. Cutting benefits is out of the question. To be honest, you'd really rather not even admit there's a problem, lest taxpayers get upset."

“State and local governments, hard hit by the economic downturn of 2001, find themselves in a financial bind. While sharp anti-tax sentiment constrains revenue and governments face new outlays for everything from homeland security to No Child Left Behind, there's a growing feeling that the retirement promises made to everyone from office workers and state patrols...

"Joshua D. Rauh just announced on his blog about a new study that he just released, with Robert Novy-Marx, that estimates state and local pension contributions need to increase by a factor of 2.5 to reach solvency in 30 years. That amounts to a tax increase of $1,398 per household, per year!

The study is titled 'The Revenue Demands of Public Employee Pension Promises.'"

"Promised pensions benefits for public-sector employees represent a massive overhang that threatens the financial future of many cities and states." Laing goes on to point out that over 15,000 California pensioners receive $100,000 or more each year. Additionally, Laing points out that some estimates of the pension funding gap is upwards of $3...

"America's public sector pensions have been a scandal for years. It wasn't that long ago that they finally got around to doing their accounting the way that normal pensions do:  by showing how likely their assets were to generate enough revenue to pay for future benefits.  When they did, we found out what critics had long been claiming:  many pension...

This CNN article discusses how New Jersey plans to deal with their massive $34 billion dollar pension shortfall—money which goes towards the retirement packages of teachers, firefighters, and cops. “For years, states nationwide have shortchanged the retirement programs that cover teachers, police, and other public employees; now the stock market plunge has wiped...

Chart or Graph

"The three lines in each graph show aggregate state pension fund assets under three return scenarios: a 6% return (the dashed line), an 8% return (the solid line) and a 10% return (the dotted line)."

"As of 2006, around 60 percent of public pension assets were held in domestic or foreign equities and slightly over one-quarter in bonds, with smaller allocations to real estate, cash, alternate investments such as private equity, or other asset classes. (Figure 1)"

"There are large public sector pay variations between regions in the United States. Table 3 shows that average compensation per hour for government workers varies from $49.02 in the Pacific region to $30.73 in the West South Central region."

"While above-average returns are available for savvy investors, taking risk, particularly in correlated asset classes, opens up the possibility of large investment shortfalls."

"The State of California understates teachers’ pension unfunded liabilities by as much as $101.2 billion. to put this in perspective, California’s total budget was about $89.5 billion for FY2009-2010."

"Table 1 shows average compensation per hour worked in state and local governments and the U.S. private sector."

The chart ranks the states (from highest to lowest) in terms of the size of the necessary tax hike, per year, to achieve solvency of the state’s public pension system. As you can see, New Jersey ranks top in the country at $2,475 while Indiana comes in last at $329.

Moving forward, the younger generations of Americans face growing burdens of taxation as older generations retire and take benefits through pensions, medicare, and social security. This chart shows the change that will be taking place in government as 60% of federal employees are eligible for retirement through 2016.

"Even before the market started melting in late 2007, employers' costs increased 40 percent over a five-year period. Meanwhile, employee contributions remained constant."

"The implicit debt facing New Jersey in its underfunded pension plans, as with most states, was encouraged by the actuarial methods used to value the plans and the choices of legislators over a period of years to extend generous benefits while deferring payments to the pension funds."

"According to their calculations, New Hampshire’s pension system will run out of money in 2022 - only eleven years from today - see Table 4."

"Figure Q plots the distribution of investment return assumptions. As with inflation assumptions, investment return assumptions for many plans have been reduced in recent years. In particular, all investment return assumptions in the Public Fund Survey above 8.5 percent have been reduced. The median and modal assumption remains 8.0 percent."

"We first started running the nearby chart on the trends in public and private union membership many years ago. It documents the great transformation in the American labor movement over the latter decades of the 20th century."

U.S. spending on pensions dramatically skyrocketed beginning in the mid-1950s.

"The first column is the year that each state will run out of pension fund assets assuming they earn 8% on their assets and that they use future contributions to fund new benefits in full."

Analysis Report White Paper

This paper discusses Federal retirement statistics in order to gain a better understanding of the future makeup of the Federal workforce. A significant number of employees are eligible or will become eligible to retire in the near future, making a deeper analysis of the retirement of Federal civilians more timely and meaningful.

"Accurate measures of public pension liabilities are important for policymakers, taxpayers, investors considering the economic environment in which to start or locate a business, and bond purchasers considering the risk premia appropriate to municipal government bonds that are in practice subordinate to public pension liabilities."

"This paper analyzes the flow of state pension benefit payments relative to asset levels and contributions. Assuming future state contributions fund the full present value of new benefits, many state systems will run out of money in 10-20 years if some attempt is not made to improve the funding of liabilities that have already been accrued."

In the wake of the economic downturn that began in 2008, public schools face serious and seemingly long-term fiscal challenges. Rising pension costs are a particular concern for school districts, whose dollars help prop up state retirement plans that often have substantial unfunded liabilities.

"These programs will cost Illinois more than $100 billion during the next 30 years. Because the state has not designated money for these three programs, they operate on a yearly pay as you go basis."

"In 2008, wages and benefits of $1.1 trillion accounted for half of total state and local government spending. This bulletin examines state and local compensation costs, with a focus on the lucrative pensions enjoyed by public sector workers."

State and local employee pension plans, which are primarily defined benefit plans, have come under increased scrutiny of late. Plan funding conditions have worsened during the early years of the 21st century, especially during the aftermath of the post-2007 recession.

"CalPERS, CalSTRS, and UCRS together administer the pensions of approximately 2.6 million Californians. Between June 2008 and June 2009, these three public pension funds lost a combined $109.7 billion in portfolio value (see Table 1)."

"The Civic Federation goes on to note, 'Illinois will not be able to balance future budgets without substantial pension reforms today. These reforms are the necessary first step toward putting our state government on a solid financial footing.'"

"Given the current expected shortfall of Social Security retirement funding, there are considerations to privatize all or some of the Social Security trust fund's 'portfolio.' Although it is often assumed that this is a new idea, the nation has had experience with privatization of federal pensions extending back to the U.S. Navy Pension Fund almost 200 years ago."

"New Hampshire’s pension and other post-employment benefits (OPEB) system, mostly health insurance, for retirees is unsustainable and, as of June 30, 2010, underfunded by nearly $4.7 billion. In other words, the assets put in reserve to meet future benefit obligations are not enough to meet projected liabilities."

"Funding public pension systems represents one of the greatest financial challenges for state and local governments today. About 84 percent of state pension systems are underfunded, with enough assets to cover only 80 percent of their future pension commitments, according to Wilshire Research."

"The Public Fund Survey is an online compendium of key characteristics of the nation's largest public retirement systems and is sponsored by the National Association of State Retirement Administrators and the National Council on Teacher Retirement for the purpose of increasing knowledge and understanding of the public pension community."

"We calculate the present value of state employee pension liabilities as of June 2009 using discount rates that reflect the risk of the payments from a taxpayer perspective."

In this study, we consider the case of New Jersey, which operates five defined benefit pension plans for state employees. ... The New Jersey Senate unanimously passed legislation in February 2010 that would put a question on the November ballot to constitutionally require the state to begin to make its full annual payment to the state’s pension system.

"States report that their public-employee pensions are underfunded by a total of $438 billion, but a more accurate accounting demonstrates that they are actually underfunded by over $3 trillion."

"Even with a hard freeze of all benefits at today’s levels, contributions still have to rise by more than $800 per U.S. household to achieve full [pension] funding in 30 years."

"California politicians can either continue hiding their heads in the sand, or else face up to these looming obligations by ceasing to promise overly lavish benefits and by increasing the required contributions from salaried employees."

"Thus, total unfunded liabilities for all benefit plans are an estimated $3.1 trillion — nearly three times higher than the plans report."

This brief examines the reasons why some public pension plans are less well funded than others. The authors write that "while state and local pensions as a group are about as well funded as plans in the private sector, significant variation exists. More than 60 percent are adequately funded, but almost 40 percent are not."


"The interactive map is based on Table 2. Market valued funding ratios and unfunded liabilities on page 42 of An Options Pricing Method for Calculating the Market Price of Public Sector...

Discussants address the pension crises threatening to sink cities and states.

Fox Business News interviews Joshua Rauh of Northwestern University regarding the $3 trillion aggregate shortfall for public pensions. He recommends moving public employees to defined contribution plans and 401k-type plans for new workers, though he does argue also for bailouts of roughly $75 billion from the federal government to various state governments.

"Panelists talked about the possibility of a federal bailout of state pension funds. Among the topics they addressed were recent losses and market value declines as a result of the weak economy, challenges for future sustainability of public pension programs, and potential pension system reform. They also responded to questions from the audience."

Governor Schwarzenegger of California discusses the state's public pension crisis, something he calls the single biggest threat to the state's fiscal health and future. He says that promises were made that cannot be made and that the unfunded liability to California is $500 billion.

Primary Document

While President Franklin D. Roosevelt opposed collective bargaining by government employees, it wasn't until President Kennedy that government employees were able to collectively bargain at the federal level. Executive Order 10988 is below which first granted the federal employees collective bargaining.


President Roosevelt's letter to Mr. Luther C. Steward, President, National Federation of Federal Employees. In the letter, FDR takes a position that public employees should not be able to collectively bargain.

"My dear Mr. Steward:


As I am unable to accept your kind invitation to be present on the occasion of the Twentieth...

David Johns comments before the Social Security Subcommittee on the positives and negatives of our British counterpart's public pension policies, and the lessons that we should take from their experiences.

A report established by a committee of chief investment officers (CIO's) by the Association of Public Pension Auditors which outlines the various risks that publicly funded actuaries may encounter, and how to avoid such risks.

"The purpose of this report is to provide updated information on actuarial accrued liabilities as they relate to Other Postemployment Benefits (OPEB) for school districts in Minnesota."

"Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, I appreciate the opportunity to testify today on Chile's private pension system, especially since it has become the model for countries around the world that have reformed their public pension systems or are considering doing so.

In 1924 Chile was the first country...




Click thumbnails below to view links


Become a fan of Intellectual Takeout on Facebook!
Share Intellectual Takeout with friends, family, and colleagues on Facebook and Twitter!
Education history in America is important to know. ITO traces how education has changed from the colonial period to present day America.
At Intellectual Takeout, we think it's about time freedom went viral. Before our generation is the opportunity to embrace freedom, to unleash each individual's potential, and to have a prosperous future. And yet it seems that almost everyone running our cities, states, and federal government is intent on destroying freedom and burying us in debt to pay for it. If you, like us, believe that...
In the genre of documentaries revealing the problems with public education, "Kids Aren't Cars" focuses on helping us understand how schools are modeled after a factory system and what we need to do to change them. Understandably, treating kids as if they are a product to be manufactured has had detrimental effects on children going through the system and the overall level of education in America...
"Many parents and taxpayers feel helpless because the problems can seem so monumental. 'Kids Aren't Cars' director Kyle Olson reviews what he learned in the filmmaking process and the small things individuals can do that will add up to make a big difference." Here's Kyle being interviewed on a few things you can do and share with friends, family, and educators: Part 1Part 2
We all know Facebook is awesome for keeping up with friends, sharing about your life, and even distributing ideas. One great new way to get people thinking is to take advantage of the new banner profile with the help of Intellectual Takeout. Here's what one of our banners looks like loaded up on a Facebook profile: If you haven't changed your banner profile, than Facebook is likely ...
Tired of business getting a bum rap? We are, too. Here's your chance to share on Facebook the good news that business is good, beautiful, and makes life better.
While many documentaries on the education system focus on various examples of failure, "Flunked" takes a bit different tack. While certainly acknowledging and exposing the failures of the system, "Flunked" also seeks out individuals and approaches that ARE working in education. The hope is that these points of hope may serve as examples for others working in education.  Here's the trailer:...
Okay, so your friends and family keep telling you to jump on the social media bandwagon, but you have no idea what the fuzz is about. Here’s the deal: The Internet gives liberty-loving folk like us an opportunity we have never had before: to make the case for individual liberty, limited government and free market economics instantly and globally. But with the vast amounts of information...


Looking for an internship? If so, Intellectual Takeout has an opportunity for you. We have plenty of work to do as well as ideas to spread, and we need your help to get it done. If you're interested in an internship with Intellectual Takeout, you likely share our passion and you're excited about the possibility of working for a great cause. That said, you might have a few questions about what "...
The Association of American Educators (AAE) advances the teaching profession through personal growth, professional development, teacher advocacy and protection, as well as promoting excellence in education so that our members receive the respect, recognition and reward they deserve.
Are you concerned your child isn't getting the education necessary to compete in the global economy or even, perhaps, to carry on the lessons and learning of Western Civilization? If so, you have a number of choices. You could, of course, consider changing schools to a charter school, private school, or even homeschooling. If that's overwhelming for you right now, you can always supplement your...
Curiously, not a few individuals are realizing that their education (K-12 and even college) neglected to provide them with as much understanding of the world as they would like. At Intellectual Takeout, we believe that however you feel about your education, there is still much to be learned. To that end, we'd like to refer you to one book and a collection of "study guides" that serve as...
Sure, the idea of homeschooling is likely overwhelming. Indeed, homeschooling is a big commitment and a lot of work. That said, there's a reason why more and more parents are turning to homeschooling as the best option for their child(ren)'s education(s). Perhaps you are starting to realize that the public school system has changed a lot since you last attended it. Maybe you can't afford private...
Know your rights with Flex Your Rights guide to the "10 Rules for Dealing with Police."
In a highly regulated society such as ours, it's very easy to get yourself in trouble with the law. Learn more about how to protect yourself with the 5th Amendment and how to interact with the police.
Let's face it, most of us love to watch TV and movies. A wonderful way to spread ideas is to embrace our love of the cinema by hosting a movie night with friends and family.  There are numerous documentaries that do a fantastic job of sharing the ideas of liberty. You can pull a small group of friends together at your house or even consider asking a local restaurant or tavern to let you...
Watch "Waiting for Superman" to learn about the problems with the public education system.
Another movie that tells the story of the failing public school model in the United States is “The Lottery”. It takes its own unique look at the systems by focusing on the use of lotteries to choose which children will be plucked from failing public schools and put into more successful public charter schools. Here’s the trailer:  You can watch the whole movie right now with the help of Hulu...
While there are a variety of really good documentaries about the failing public school systems in America, "The Cartel" stands alone in its frontal assault on the teacher unions, particularly those in New Jersey. If you'd like to get an inside look into how some teacher unions operate and the effects they have on education, you'll want to watch "The Cartel."From the movie's website: "This movie...
How often do you hear conservatives being called a bunch of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals? Here's the reality: Conservatism, classical liberalism, and libertarianism have a rich, intellectual heritage reaching back many millennia. Our ideas are not just some historical relics from bygone eras; they are the very foundation of Western Civilization in general, amd the United States in particular....
Sadly (or happily for some), life goes on after college. So does the fight for freedom. Building friendships, networking, and growing the movement is critical after college. If our ideas are to be preserved and promoted, you need to stay involved. Plus, in a time when the individual seems to be ever more isolated and adrift, these groups can help plug you into social networks you can use....
Okay, so we don't expect you to drive a wooden stake into your flat screen. Plus, we're total hypocrites since we watch some TV. But here's the point: People waste a ton of time watching TV. If you're cool with government taking over your future, than keep watching Dancing with the Stars. If you consider yourself to be a free man or woman and want to live in a free society, then watch what you...
A great way to make a difference on your campus by spreading the ideas of individual rights, limited government, and free markets is to tutor. Plus, you can occasionally make a little bit of money. Depending on the subject matter, you will be discussing a variety of ideas, key thinkers, and theories. As anyone who has tutored knows, there are almost always opportunities to expand upon a topic....

On Campus

We've built Intellectual Takeout to provide you with quick, easy access to information. In time, we hope to become your one-stop-shop for the ideas of freedom. If your professor allows you to bring your laptop to class (if not, you can use an iPhone), we recommend keeping a tab open to Intellectual Takeout. As we continue to generate new content on the site, you will be able to fact check the...
We've built Intellectual Takeout to provide you with quick, easy access to information. In time, we hope to become your one-stop-shop for the ideas of freedom. If your professor allows you to bring your laptop to class (if not, you can use an iPhone), we recommend keeping a tab open to Intellectual Takeout. As we continue to generate new content on the site, you will be able to fact check the...
When it comes to campus life injustices, student fees rank high on any list. On most campuses across the country a mandatory student fee is assessed to each student at the beginning of the year. A portion of this fee, which may be several hundred dollars, will go toward funding various political, religious, and interest groups.  A college requiring you to support groups espousing ideas which...
If you're not happy with the direction of the country and you want to take back your future, at some point you will have to do something. It's not enough to just know that we're going in the wrong direction. You actually have to step out and get involved. Most college campuses have conservative and libertarian student groups. Find one of them to join. Below is a list of some of the larger non-...
Now that you're at college and the initial excitement has worn off, maybe you're thinking that the course selection is a bit biased and you'd like some options. So how do you (the consumer) get the college (the business) to change up its offerings? It certainly won't be easy. Nevertheless it's something that should be done--particularly since you're footing the bill. A good, education in a free...
Whatever activism you choose to do on campus, you need to get your story out. A popular tactic used by the Left is to isolate and intimidate freedom-loving students. You're not alone and there are a lot of people in your city, state, and country that can probably support your efforts. They just need to know what is happening. Whenever you can, record in-class bias, discrimination against...
The reality is that most students (and people for that matter) won't speak out. It's called human nature and it was recognized in the Declaration of Independence: "...all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." While you might feel alone when debating a teacher,...
In the land of the free and the home of the brave, speech codes are a particularly odious example of politically correct repression on many a college campus. In some ways, college campuses are the least free places for thinking and speech in America. Your best friend for fighting your school's repressive speech codes is the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Here's a short clip...
Running for office isn't easy, even in college. Not everyone is cut out for it, either. For those of you who are, this completely non-partisan section is for you. If you are inclined to pursue student government, we're not going to spend time on telling you how to get elected. A good place to go for ideas and training is Rather, we want to help you in office, as a believer in...