We need your immediate help to stop Congress from cutting retirees’ hard-earned pension benefits. With only days left in the lame duck session, Congress is considering passing legislation that would allow pension plan trustees to cut the hard-earned pension benefits of retirees – as a purported solution to shoring up certain financially-troubled multiemployer plans. Such an unprecedented measure would be devastating to hundreds of thousands of retirees and widows who count on these pensions to survive.
This ill-conceived proposal could be voted on as early as Monday. If passed, the proposal would permit immediate cuts, even if the plans may not run out of money for decades to come. This is unconscionable. We must tell Congress that there are ways to address troubled plans that don’t break promises to retirees and undermine fundamental principles of the nation’s private pension law.
When the Employee Retirement Security Act was passed 40 years ago, Congress understood that retirees count on their pensions to pay for food, medication, and other daily expenses. That is because a pension can make the difference between a retiree’s financial security and poverty.
Certainly, steps must be taken to address severely underfunded multiemployer plans. However, Congress should consider common-sense measures that are less draconian than cutting the already-modest pensions of older retirees. Some of these ideas include facilitating mergers and partitions and raising Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation premiums to allow the agency to better assist plans.
Before current retirees are sacrificed on the altar of alarmist financial expediency, they should be given an opportunity to share their concerns with their elected representatives in an open, public process.
Thank you for your support.
Executive Vice President and Policy Director, Pension Rights Center