Information Center

Voices of People Facing MPRA Pension Cuts


The following stories have been collected as part of the Pension Rights Center story bank.

Rita Lewis
Westchester, Ohio | Age 64
Rita is the widow of Butch Lewis, a decorated Vietnam Veteran, who had driven a semi tractor
trailer for 40 years while undergoing 37 surgeries to repair his knee that was injured in the war.  When Butch was told his pension was being cut over 40% the stress helped precipitate his death from a massive stroke on New Year’s eve. Rita is now facing cuts in her survivor’s
benefits of 40%. She fears she will have to sell her home, not be able to take care of her aged father who has stage IV cancer and will have to renege on promises to pay for her
grandchildren’s college education

Mike Walden
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio | Age 67
Mike is a USMC Vietnam Veteran who was a linehaul driver for Roadway Express for 31 years. His pension is proposed to be reduced from $2805.00 per month to $1478 per month, about 51%. The proposed reduction will harm him to the point that he may have to receive
government assistance, going from a comfortable middle class lifestyle to poverty with a stroke of a pen.

Daniel Odom
Dallas, Georgia
Daniel was the first UPS driver hired in the Southeast and he spent 32 years building the SE
division from the ground up, leading to the honor of having his portrait in the “Circle of Honor” in the Governor’s mansion. Despite working for UPS, he is facing cuts in his pension of 50%. The pressure of the impending cuts was a major contributor to the open heart surgery his wife, Brenda, recently underwent, and now she must constantly monitor her blood pressure to stay healthy. The couple doesn’t know how they will survive on one half of Daniel’s pension.

Ron Daubenmeier
Cedar Rapids, Iowa | Age 74
Ron is facing a cut of 60% because he worked for Consolidated Freight, which went
bankrupt—through no fault of his own. Ron is facing a steep cut of his benefit from $3200 to
$1286.00 a month which will leave him struggling to make ends meet.

Larry Smith
Parsons, Kansas | Age 71
Larry is a disabled Teamster who retired from Consolidated Freightways after it declared
bankruptcy. Although he has been declared disabled by the company, his retirement will not be protected since his disability payments come from Social Security and not from the union. Larry is expected to be cut from $2500.00 a month to $1009.00 a month. His family lost most of their savings in the recession and now will lose most of his pension. Larry had a life insurance policy but will no longer be able to afford the premium so he will lose the house he and his wife have lived in for 50 years and will have to go on welfare.

Ava Miller
Flint, Michigan | Age 60’s
Ava was a car hauler dispatcher for 42 years. Her pension is being cut 58% as Central States considers her an “orphan” because some of the companies she worked for don’t exist anymore and she is being cut the maximum amount. She is unable to go back to work because of health problems. She may be forced to sell her house if the cuts go through because otherwise she won’t be able to pay her soaring bills.

Sammie Steen
Brandon, Mississippi | Age 62
Sammie is a retired truck driver (34 years) receiving a pension from Central States in the
amount of $3047.81. If nothing is done, his check will be cut to $1330.60, a reduction of
$1757.21. Sammie will have to file for bankruptcy and get in the welfare line, and possibly lose his house. He is disabled so he can’t go back into the workforce.

Larry Maxfield
Winfield, Missouri | Age 73
Larry has a heart condition, diabetes, high blood pressure, spinal stenosis, bad knees, COPD, and bronchitis and takes 20 pills each day. Central States told him his pension will be reduced from $3100 to $1276.03 monthly, a cut of 58% and he has no idea how he’ll make it.

Fred Lowry
Omaha, Nebraska | Age 76
Fred is one of the so called “partially protected” persons who will be losing 30% of his income if these cuts are allowed. He worked 29 years and was getting a pension of $2800 dollars monthly, which is projected to go down to $1900 a month. He owns a house near Lake Okoboji and paying the mortgage is dependent on Fred’s income. He can’t hear very well and has back problems due to all those years driving so it will be impossible for him to go back to work to make up for the lost income.

Clarence Moody
Lincolnton, North Carolina
Clarence’s pension is being cut to zero – penalizing him because of the way a divorce decree was written.

Bob Amsden
Milwaukee, Wisconsin | Age 64
Bob worked for over 32 ½ years as a road driver, city driver, and dock worker at 5 different Teamster trucking companies. Central States has notified him that the cut to his pension will be 55.4%. The emotional and physical strain the impending cuts are imposing on his family are unbearable.

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