Ryan, Colleagues Call for Pension Protection

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, flanked by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, announced legislation Thursday to be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate that would restore pension guarantees for retired union workers, undoing pension cuts that were included in a spending bill passed by the 2014 lame-duck Congress.

Union leaders, pension advocates and retirees joined the elected officials for the press event on Capitol Hill.

As the elected officials noted, for 40 years U.S. law prevented ongoing pension plans from cutting retiree benefits unilaterally. Last year, however, laws governing multi-employer pension plans were changed as part of the 1,600-page omnibus spending bill Congress passed to avoid a government shutdown.

Workers whot gave up raises and other benefits to get a pension are now vulnerable to losing as much as 60% of their benefits, according to a Ryan, D-13 Ohio. More than 10 million Americans currently rely on multi-employer pension plans.

“Workers in this country are profit creators. Their work directly impacts any given company’s ability to earn a profit,” said Ryan. “Pensions are not benefits given as a gift from employer to employee; they are payment for work that was already done. Workers and employers reach an agreement to be paid a lower salary in order to receive their pension at a later date. And when these pensions are cut or dissolved, it is a clear breach of contract and workers are being robbed. It’s that simple.”

Added Kaptur, D-9 Ohio: “Our legislation will restore anti-cutback rules so that retirees are protected from having their earned benefits cut — restoring a 40 year principal that retirees pensions should never be on the chopping block– while also providing relief for participating employers,” she continued.

Pictured: U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan speaks at Thursday’s press event.

SOURCE: Office of U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan.

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