Washington – The Teamsters are celebrating President Biden’s signing into law of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP), which among other things will boost the retirements of more than one million U.S. workers and retirees in faltering multiemployer pension plans to ensure they receive their full benefits.
For more the two decades, the Teamsters – led by General President Jim Hoffa – have been working to secure a pension fix. The union has spent the last six-plus years pushing back on terrible pension legislation enacted in late 2014 that allowed struggling multiemployer pensions to cut earned benefits.
The signing of the ARP brings relief to more than 200 multiemployer pension plans teetering on the edge of financial disaster.
The President, working with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, had promised to tackle pension reform in the lead up to the 2020 election if given the reins of power. And some 50 days after Biden took office, they did just that.
“Teamster members told the union as it ramped up its election efforts that pension security was their top concern,” Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said. “With that in mind, the union put together a plan to help elect President Biden and other lawmakers who promised to prioritize the retirements of hardworking Americans. They followed through with that promise and delivered for us.”
As part of the ARP, more than 50 Teamster pension plans – including its largest, the Central States Pension Fund – are eligible for assistance at the outset of the bill’s enactment, with more of the union’s plans becoming eligible in 2022.
Under the new law, money to assist eligible plans will come directly from the U.S. Treasury Department in the form of grants which would not need to be repaid. Plan participants will receive 100 percent of their earned pension benefits. Affected members and retirees are encouraged to contact their pension fund in the coming days to find out more information specific to their benefits.
“President Biden’s signature on this legislation is the culmination of years of hard work by so many with ties to this union,” Hoffa said. “But no one fought harder than affected members and retirees who attended countless meetings, repeatedly lobbied lawmakers and rallied to the cause. The Teamsters are grateful for their dedication to get this done.”