(WOIO) - A new bill that could be passed before Congress leaves for winter break has a lot of retirees upset.
Donna and Daniel McAuliffe are heading into a nightmare next week, as Congress could pass a bill that opponents say will slash some retiree's pensions by 65 percent. This scares the Brunswick couple.
"It's going to hurt and it's going to hurt a lot of families," said Donna.
Supporters of the bill that will remove a longstanding anti-cutback on pension law believe if the bill fails, some pensions could be exhausted by 2021.
Daniel, who worked for Yellow Trucking for 32 years, says he earned his pension through a lifetime of hard work.
His biggest fear now?
"My house, everything I own. If this goes through, I am done," said Daniel.
The Northeast Ohio Committee to Protect Pensions was born in March and wants politicians to consider merging plans or a pension bailout. The group believes some in Congress want to sneak this bill through in only a matter of days.
"Especially trying to tack this important bill onto something that is meaningless, to push it through Congress in four days, that you have something you could have taken care of all year," said Mike Walden, with NOCPP.
Donna is wondering if anyone on Capitol Hill is listening.
"I would hope they care. This is America. Nobody thinks this kinda thing is going to happen to us," said Donna.
If passed, the bill could affect 10 million retired Americans.
When people are old, should governments guarantee they have incomes?
In the 19th century — 125 years ago — Germany became the first country to answer yes to that question, adopting an old-age pension system at the behest of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck.
Click here to read more The New York TImes.
It is urgent that Teamster President Hoffa make a strong statement to all Senators and Congresspersons to defend Teamster pensions under attack.
This letter from the IAM President must not stand alone. We need the political weight of the IBT at this time.
December 4, 2014: Congress is nearing a vote on arguably the biggest change to private pension law in decades.
The proposed reforms would grant sweeping new authority to the trustees of some “deeply troubled” multi-employer pension plans to slash benefits promised to current retirees—something that’s illegal under existing law.
See what you can do to help head off this sneak attack.
Click here to read more at In These Times.
Congress could soon allow the benefits of current retirees to be cut as part of an agreement to address the fiscal distress confronting some of the nation’s 1,400 multi-employer pension plans.
Several unions and pension advocates opposing the move, which would be unprecedented, say that permitting financially strapped plans to cut retiree benefits would violate the central promise of traditional pensions: that they would provide a defined benefit for life.
Click here to read more at The Washington Post.
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:
Here’s what’s really being missed in most snapshot explanations of Detroit’s bankruptcy: the unprecedented hit being taken by retirees who believed that, after working throughout their lives, they would be secure in their old age.
And Detroit sets a dangerous precedent. Your city’s retirees may be next in the crosshairs.
Click here to read more at Labor Notes.