May 28, 2010: On May 27, the US Senate Committee on Health Education, Labor, and Pensions held hearings on a piece of legislation of vital importance to Teamsters and retirees.
The Create Jobs & Save Benefits Act of 2010, sponsored by Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa), if passed intact and with proper safeguards, could help protect Teamster pensions and aid some Teamster pension funds.
The bill mirrors legislation introduced last year in the House by Reps. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) and Patrick Tiberi (R-Ohio).
The bill would, among other things, allow for “partition” of certain troubled multi-employer pension plans to allow that the liabilities, and certain fund assets, attributable to bankrupt employers would be transferred to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).
Professor Norman Stein, testifying for the Pension Rights Center, told the Senators that it is critical that “partitioned retirees should be treated identically to the participants in the parent plan” with no diminished benefits. This feature must be in any legislation, or it could create second-class Teamster retirees.
Professor Stein noted that the proposal is a case of “a stitch in time saves nine,” for it will help keep pension plans from collapsing and thus ending up costing the PBGC more.
Teamsters should get behind this bill, and at the same time insist that it provide full benefits to all retirees, whether their previous employer is bankrupt or still surviving.
The Pension Rights Center’s testimony of Norman Stein is available here.
The full text of the bill, S. 3157 is available here.
Tell the Senate to pass legislation to protect our pensions at Teamster.org.