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Bill Introduced to Save Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund

November 22, 2017

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

WASHINGTON—A bill introduced in Congress Nov. 16 would attempt to salvage the country’s floundering multiemployer pension plans thorough a combination of federal loans and insurance. If the money came through by next July, the Teamsters Central States Pension Fund told sponsors Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), the fund could keep paying retirees full benefits without becoming insolvent. The Central States fund, which has about 400,000 participants, has been struggling because it has more retirees collecting pensions than working union truckdrivers contributing to it. Last year, the Treasury Department rejected its plan to stay solvent by cutting benefits by more than half for some retirees. Under the bill, explains Mike Walden, president of the National United Committee to Protect Pensions, Central States retirees and survivors would be taken out of the plan and given an annuity that would pay their benefits, covered by the loans and insurance from the federal Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. That would leave the fund with about $15 billion to cover its 60,000 active workers and pay back the loan in 30 years. Many Congressional Democrats have endorsed the measure, but getting Republican votes is “going to be a battle,” Walden said.

Read more here.

November 22, 2017

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