April 19, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Washington, DC – More than 1,000 retired Teamsters, many traveling from as far away as Minnesota and Missouri, rallied outside the Capitol April 14 to denounce the Central States Pension Fund’s plans proposal to slash retirement checks for 272,600 members by up to 70%.
The decline in union trucking firms paying into the multiemployer fund has decimated its revenues, and in 2014, Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) helped attach an amendment to the federal budget that requires the Treasury Department to approve pension cuts by such financially troubled funds. “We bail out banks and big car companies,” said Roger Spencer, 70, of Center City, Minn., who expects that his pension will be halved. “Can we work something out for working people?” Four senators joined the demonstration: Al Franken (D-Minn.), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio). The Treasury Department is expected to rule on the cuts by May 7. Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) said he was “cautiously optimistic” they would be rejected, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has sponsored a bill that would raise taxes on high-income people to fund aid for ailing pension plans. Read more