January 9, 2015: Reckless Wall Street schemes tanked the economy and Teamster pension funds.
Now Teamsters and retiree advocates are coming together to hold Wall Street accountable and take on pension cuts.
Congress attached to the end-ofyear spending bill a measure that undid 30 years of pension protections. More than one million workers, retirees and their families could see historic pension cuts over the next year or two.
This has sent shock waves across the USA.
The largest affected group is the 300,000 Teamsters and retirees in the Central States Pension Fund.
For nearly two years, TDU has teamed with leading pension policy and advocacy groups, including the AARP and the Pension Rights Center, to build a retirement security coalition.
The pension-cut amendment attached to the budget bill was a sneak attack and a game-changer.
While the Hoffa administration was missing in action, TDU, the PRC, AARP and other unions were gearing up for a national campaign and Capitol Hill fight to defeat pension cut legislation in 2015.
Now we are preparing new tactics and a new approach.
How We Got Here
Reckless Wall Street speculators pushed the stock market and economy over the cliff in 2008.
The crash and the great recession took a huge toll on Teamsters in freight and other industries—and crippled many pension funds.
Congress bailed out the big banks but left working families high and dry. They did exactly nothing to shore up hard-earned pensions.
There is no stomach in Washington, D.C. for governmentfunded aid, but there is a growing movement for accountability by Wall Street and the big banks. They caused the problem, they have to be accountable for at least some of the solution.
We are exploring a Retirement Security and Wall Street Accountability campaign that would demand that the big Wall Street banks finance a fund to assist troubled pension funds that were put in distress by Wall Street speculation and the 2008 economic meltdown.
The approach is similar to other Wall Street Accountability campaigns targeting banks to assist under-water mortgage holders and it shares similar assumptions.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) needs to be a real safety net to backstop earned pensions. In the 2008 meltdown, when the FDIC (which insures bank deposits) was threatened, protections were increased to $250,000 per account. And the FDIC is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. The PBGC needs to be put on equal footing with the FDIC so that earned pensions are treated like earned savings: with reasonable protection, not a safety net full of holes.