Right now, the pension plans of thousands of Ohioans are at risk of massive cuts if Congress doesn’t act soon.
It’s bad enough that Wall Street squandered workers’ money and it’s worse that the government that’s supposed to look out for these folks is trying to break the promise made to them.
This crisis affects the massive Central States Teamsters Pension Plan, the United Mine Workers Pension Plan, the Ironworkers Local 17 Pension Plan, the Ohio Southwest Carpenters Pension Plan, the Bakers and Confectioners Pension Plan, and others around the state.
We can’t allow Ohio workers to be cheated out of the retirement they earned.
That’s why this week, I’m rolling out a plan to fix this crisis, without cutting a cent of these Americans’ retirement.
Named in honor of the late Butch Lewis, head of Teamsters Local 100 in Evendale, my bill would preserve Ohio pensions by creating a new agency, the Pension Rehabilitation Administration, which would issue bonds backed by the U.S. government to finance loans to pension plans in critical condition. The loans would cover pensions promised to workers in these plans and ensure these retired workers can spend the holidays enjoying time with their families — not worrying about if their pension checks will still come next year.
As Butch often said, you didn’t work 40 years to get 40 percent of your retirement.
In Youngstown last week, at Teamsters Local 377, I talked with families about what these cuts to their retirement would mean for them. One of the retired workers, Ed Barker, told me, “We did our part, now it’s time for members of Congress to cross party lines and do theirs.”
Ed is right. This issue goes to our fundamental values as a country. For too many workers, hard work just doesn’t pay off. Americans are working longer and harder than ever before, but with less and less to show for it. And many Americans have no retirement security at all.
If we truly value a hard day’s work in this country, we have to fix that and we can start by keeping our promise to these hardworking Ohioans.
Sherrod Brown (D-OH) represents Ohio in the U.S. Senate. He can be contacted via his Columbus office, 200 N. High St., Room 614, Columbus, OH 43215, phone, 614-469-2083, 1-800-896-6446, Cincinnati office, 425 Walnut St., Suite 2310, Cincinnati, OH 45202, phone 513-684-1021, 1-888-896-6446 or Washington, D.C. office, 713 Hart Senate Building, Washington, DC 20510, phone, 202-224-2315.