Central States Shouldn’t Cut Pensions


Workers and retirees contributing to the Central States Pension Fund are having their retirement security threatened by legislation passed by Congress last fall that allows pension funds to cut active and retiree benefits. Administrators of the pension plan filed a petition with the U.S. Treasury Department in late September that would cut pensions by as much as 60 percent.

In an October letter sent to Fund Executive Director Thomas Nyhan, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa told Nyhan that the proposed cuts are simply outrageous.

“Trying to prop up Central States by proposing draconian pension cuts that will impose significant hardships on the very people the Fund is supposed to serve makes no sense,” he said. “The benefits these workers and retirees earned were the result of their own hard work as well as that of their fellow Teamsters.”

That’s why the Teamsters have been supportive of several legislative fixes. The “Keep Our Pension Promises Act” (KOPPA) would protect workers and retirees from cuts to their earned retirement benefits. The legislation would roll back provisions that were slipped into the fiscal 2015 spending bill approved by Congress last year that made earned pension benefits vulnerable to cuts.

And new legislation by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) would guarantee thousands of retirees and workers threatened by deep cuts to their pensions a meaningful voice in deciding their own future.

The “Pension Accountability Act” shows that lawmakers across the political spectrum recognize a fix is needed. While it’s not a complete solution, Sen. Portman’s bill would be a start.

Either way, Congress is unlikely to take action unless they hear from constituents. The Teamsters are asking workers to contact their elected officials and ask them to support both legislative bills. Central States should pull its horrific pension proposal. But if it doesn’t, the Teamsters Union is not backing down.