OPINION: GOP leaders’ pension proposal would take a sledgehammer to millions of Americans’ hard-earned pensions

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By ROBERT MARTINEZ JR.
President
International Association of Machinists

Proponents of the plan by U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) addressing the multi-employer pension plan crisis this plan can call it whatever they want, but it is nothing more than a tax on one of our most vulnerable groups — senior citizens.

The proposal would take a sledgehammer to the hard-earned pensions of millions of Americans.

Instead of putting forward a good-faith attempt to fix our nations pension crisis, this plan would only speed up the collapse of the entire multi-employer pension system. We must do better for both retirees and current plan participants who have sacrificed portions of their paychecks for decades based on a promise for a secure retirement.

Working Americans are not asking for a bailout, like the over $700 billion the government gave to the banks and Wall Street in 2008. We are merely asking that Congress does not follow up a massive corporate tax giveaway with this latest pension proposal, which would amount to a multi-billion dollar tax increase on working families and retirees.

The Senate should instead pass a real, proactive solution which rehabilitates failing plans, bolsters the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) and protects the earned benefits of millions of retirees, workers and their families.

The Butch Lewis Act, which was passed by the House in a bipartisan manner, would accomplish these goals without stealing from retirees, workers and their families.

I urge every member of the U.S. Senate to co-sponsor the Butch Lewis Act and put it a floor vote immediately.

Call your senators at 202-224-3121 to urge them to co-sponsor the Butch Lewis Act.

9 COMMENTS

  1. we retirees at international assoc of machinists local 698 detroit,michigan,have been taking a approx 80% pension cut now for 1 year 11 months 30 days in our motor city pension fund.our pension cut has devastated many of us financially for almost two years with know help from anyone and know answers too when it might end if ever.many have lost most of everything we have worked for,many have had to take mininum wage jobs just to survive,many of us are vets who have gave service to our country and have worked and payed into our fund and taxes our entire working life and have planned for our retirement to be there for us in our golden years,so far our golden years have been anything but golden.it is time for the senate to get off sitting on there hands and do what is right for us american tax paying retirees and pass the butch lewis act now,not later,we ask for our goverments help now.we had nothing to do with what happen on wall street,they wall street got a bailout after stealing our cash.we don’t ask for a bailout.we are asking for loans to be financed by bonds with the butch lewis act.once again i ask our gov’t to please help us all now in multi employer pension fund

  2. Pittsburgh bakery drivers lost 30 percent August 1 2019. This trickle effect is happening everywhere and needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Government electives need to put this Butch Lewis Act in front of President Trump.
    TODAY.

  3. I’ve worked for a union for 30+years and I’m retired knowing that I’m able to have a good life in my golden years because of the pension I worked hard for. I have a son-in-law who has been working in the Operating Engineers for nearly 20 years with the hope when retirement comes he’ll be able to enjoy his golden years with his family.
    This is why I’m asking my government to support the Butch Lewis Act which will help in our muti-employer pension fund.

  4. It’s time for our Elected United States Senators to stop giving Corporations and the very wealthy these huge tax breaks and start putting working families first , call your U. S. Senators it’s time for you to stand up and Pass the Butch Lewis Act and put it on President Trumps Desk the # is 202-224-3121.

  5. I have been blessed to of had a 30 and out pension through the Teamsters hauling autos out of Memphis! I am in my 20th year of drawing and I still have my CDL but could I drive again? Who knows, and at 74 I don’t want to find out! My son works non-union now trying to make it two more years so he can draw at 57! I am pro-union and I do want to get this settled, but it seems all my President can do is fight to just stay in office (So 😞)

  6. Never mind I found it. The white paper proposal is more of a last ditch effort to save the failing PBGC. PBGC is a government program not funded by the government but obviously was not being regulated. It’s kind of like feeling safe putting your money in the bank because it’s FDIC insured, then finding out your 250k coverage really isn’t covered and when your Bank closes your only getting 25 dollars from your claim. This proposal is to fix the insurance not the multi plan pensions. They have to look like they are doing something because state pensions want fixed and they bailed out banks and Wall Street. We all trusted our unions to invest well, now we’re blaming our government because our unions failed us. We need to quit pointing a finger and looking for blame and try to find solutions. Educate our members on the very complex accounting of pension funds so we can together hold our trust funds managers more accountable. And we need to be proactive in the future. We all need to take a active role in working with our government to try restore our to multi plan pensions, get our retirees back to full pension benefits, and establish ways to prevent this crisis from happening again in the future. Divided we are weak, together we are strong. Don’t let the ones who are covering their butts divide us. We’re all in this together!

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