UPDATED June 29, 2015: Some 150 retired and active Teamsters stood proud at the Capitol as the Keep our Pension Promises Act was introduced in the US House and Senate. Frank Bryant, a UPS retiree from North Carolina, addressed the crowd, following remarks by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).
The bill is a product of efforts by the Teamster pension movement and our allies like the Pension Rights Center, that have been working tirelessly for the past year to head off pension cuts in the Central States Fund and a number of smaller Teamster funds in the northeast.
The proposed law would repeal the pension cut law passed as a sneaky amendment to the budget bill last December, and would provide a “legacy fund” within the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) to help participants in pension funds where companies have left the pension system because of bankruptcy, deregulation, or moving offshore.
Click here to read the Pension Rights Center's summary of how the Promises Act would work.
The PBGC is supposed to protect workers’ earned pensions, but is woefully inadequate and underfunded. The proposed law would close certain corporate tax loopholes to ensure funding.
“The fight for this bill is just starting,” said Butch Lewis who attended today and was also part of a delegation that visited the offices of Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman. “We will keep building the pension movement and we will be back in DC in force to make sure this legislation comes to a vote.”
Retirees and Teamsters came to Washington from a number of states, many bringing signs, banners and T-Shirts from their committees. The Pension Rights Center provided full support and expertise, and will continue to do so. Click here for a fact sheet on the bill.
Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) has supported and provided organizational back up for this movement, and will continue to do so until victory is won, and pensions are protected.
The International Union, which helped fund the lobbying group which wrote the pension-cut law, issued a statement today supporting the Keep our Pension Promises Act. The trustees of the Central States Pension Fund – Teamster officials and management alike – supported the pension-cut bill and continue on its website to attack the movement to protect pensions.