Sanders Asks Treasury To Protect 10 Million Union Retirees

Sanders Asks Treasury To Protect 10 Million Union Retirees

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today called on the federal government to protect the pensions of up to 10 million retired union workers.

Sanders, standing shoulder to shoulder with scores of retirees with vulnerable pensions, also vowed to work hard on winning support for his legislation to permanently fix pension shortfalls for union workers.

“If Congress can bailout Wall Street and foreign banks throughout the world, we should be able to protect the pension benefits of American workers,” said Sanders.

“More than 40 years ago the federal government committed to support American workers if promised pension benefits earned during a lifetime of work suddenly vanish. That commitment was the right thing to do and we must not renege on that promise,” added Sanders.

Last December, in the waning days of the session, Congress approved and the president signed a spending bill that included provisions that allow for dramatic cuts to financially troubled multi-employer pensions – which currently affects 1.5 million retirees but could rise to as many as 10 million workers. Under this provision, the pension benefits of retirees could be cut by 30 percent or more. Before the law was changed, it was illegal for an employer to cut the pension benefits retirees have earned.

Today the Department of the Treasury held a hearing on proposed regulations to allow these pension cuts to go into effect. Many of the retirees appearing at today’s rally testified about how these pension cuts would negatively impact them and their families.

The issue centers on multi-employer pensions, which are defined as pensions in which hundreds of companies band together to manage and provide pension benefits for their workers. Those retirement plans are different from single employer plans, where one company sets up a pension plan for their workers only.

Sanders said his bill will fix that provision and is paid for by simply closing two tax loopholes on estate taxes and gift taxes. He spoke alongside James Hoffa, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and others.

For a more detailed description of the Sanders bill, click HERE. For a copy of the legislation, click HERE. For a detailed list of outside groups endorsing the bill, click HERE.

Contact: Vince Morris (202) 224-3728