On April 14, Teamsters will rally in Washington to tell political leaders to Save Our Pensions. They are fighting not just for Teamster retirees, but for the pensions of millions of Americans.
Union pensions are under attack from the public sector to the Central States. Teamsters in the Central States didn’t create the pension crisis that threatens the retirement of millions of working families. But they are leading the fight to stop it.
On April 14, more than a thousand grassroots pension activists will rally in Washington to call on Congress to support the Keep Our Pension Promises Act (KOPPA) and other reforms to save the pensions earned by a lifetime of hard work by millions of retirees and their families.
They will also ask the U.S. Treasury Department to reject proposed pension cuts put forward by Central States that will affect over 400,000 Teamsters.
“We’ve been organizing against the proposed cuts for over two years,” said Mike Walden, the chair of the Northeast Ohio Committee to Protect Pensions. “This rally is the culmination of efforts large and small to convince Congress—and the Treasury Department—that the cuts proposed by Central States will not achieve solvency nor stability going forward. And, it’s absolutely wrong that the burden for the problems of Central States should rest on the backs of the Teamster retirees and active members who earned their benefits.”
The Treasury Department has until May 7 to determine whether they will accept or reject the Central States submission to slash pensions by 50% or greater. Thousands of these Teamsters have organized Committees to Protect Pensions across the Central and Southern regions. Many of these committees, some with support of local unions, have organized buses or planned car caravans to travel to Washington on April 14.
With the Upstate New York Pension Plan now moving to slash pensions, Teamsters are expected from the Empire State as well.
Tom Krekeler, co-chair of the Cincinnati area Southwest Ohio Committee to Protect Pensions, stated, “We’re in touch with other committees in Ohio and we’re up to ten buses and multiple car caravans that plan on being in D.C.”
“We’ve got two buses coming from St. Louis,” said Susan Cole, the spouse of a retired Local 604 carhauler. “We’ve got about twenty flying too!”
Activists in North Carolina report they have three buses ready to go. Michigan reports the same. Many others will make the trip by car or plane.
The rally program will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the grounds of the Capitol Building.
Announced speakers include Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Karen Friedman from the Pension Rights Center and Rita Lewis, the widow of pension movement leader Butch Lewis.
Other speakers and events are to be announced. The International Union has endorsed the rally.