Act Now to Stop Sneak Attack to Cut Pensions

December 3, 2014: Behind closed doors, a handful of Congressional representatives are planning to pass a major change to federal pension law, by making a last-minute amendment to the omnibus budget bill which Congress must pass by December 11 to avoid a shutdown. You need to take action now to stop this sneak attack.

Does that seem like the right way to consider the future of pensions for hundreds of thousands of Teamsters and millions of Americans?

We say No.  

And we are not alone. The AARP, the Pension Rights Center and some unions such as the International Association of Machinists are working hard to head-off this deal, so that hearings will be held on a proposed bill to consider amendments, improvements, and alternatives to it.

We need Teamster president James Hoffa to use the political weight of the Teamsters Union to help stop this sneak attack. You can email your request that Hoffa to call upon all congressional reps and senators to say No to junking the anti-cutback rule of ERISA by a sneaky deal. Put the millions of Teamster dollars given to politicians to good use, right now.

One year ago, Hoffa sent a letter to Congress on this issue. But a year-old letter is not what’s needed. Now is the time to press the case, with all the clout the Teamsters Union can muster. Call on Hoffa to take action.

This proposal has nothing to do with the federal budget. It has everything to do with the future of workers’ hard-earned pensions. 

Alex Adams, a retired Teamster out of Cleveland Local 407 speaks for thousands of other Teamsters facing these cuts:

“I’ve been retired for ten years after working for over 36 years moving freight across the country. In 1980, due to government deregulation, many companies went out of business in the freight industry. I worked for ten companies at one time (on call) to make sure I stayed active to receive contributions into the pension.  I earned my pension the hard way as I have a clear memory of giving up many possible wage increases so that money could go towards benefits.”

Because the deal is being done secretly, we don’t have all the terms of the proposed pension change. But it will allow “deeply troubled” pension plans—including the Central States Pension Fund—to slash existing pensions and those already vested. Central States officials have said the cuts will be about 30%.

We recognize that Central States and some other funds are in trouble, but Teamsters and retirees deserve an open discussion of the terms of the law, and possible protective amendments to it, before Congress rushes it through.

Contact your Congressperson and Senators. Tell them making a sneaky deal is no way to respect their constituents. Retirees and hard working Teamsters deserve better.

For more information:

Why the AARP opposes this bill

Why TDU opposes this bill

Why the Pension Rights Center opposes this bill

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