COLUMBUS, OHIO – On Thursday July 12th, thousands of active and retired mineworkers, truck drivers, warehouse workers, bakery workers and others who worked hard to earn a lifetime pension are rallying in Columbus, Ohio to urge lawmakers to protect their benefits.
The rally is being organized to coincide with a field hearing that will be convened in Columbus on Friday, July 13th by members of the Joint Select Committee on the Solvency of Multiemployer Plans. The Joint Select Committee, created by Congress in a bi-partisan budget deal last February, is charged with developing a consensus solution to the multiemployer pension crisis affecting families across America.
Pensions are the most fundamental of economic promises. Workers give up cash wages and other benefits in exchange for the promise of a guaranteed pension at retirement. But that promise was undermined when Congress passed the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act (MPRA) in 2014, which allowed for the first time for severely underfunded multiemployer plans to reduce retirees’ benefits as a misguided way of saving pension plans. Now, there is a general acknowledgment that MPRA as a seriously flawed law that needs to be replaced with a better, fairer solution.
There are currently 1.5 million blue-collar retirees and workers in 130 financially-troubled multiemployer pension plans who stand to lose as much as 50-70% of their pension benefits if Congress does not act quickly.
“At a time when the country is so divided, this is a perfect all-American issue for Republicans and Democrats to unite on, and find the right solution,” says Karen Friedman, the Executive Vice President of the Pension Rights Center. “Retirees earned these benefits and if their pensions are cut, it will affect their families, their communities and the economy.”
The rally will be held on Thursday, July 12 at 11:00 at the Statehouse Grounds at 1 Columbus Square, Columbus Ohio and will feature speeches from union officials and retirees who either have lost a portion of their pensions or may face big pension cuts in the future.
The Field hearing in Ohio – convened by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) – will be held on Friday, July 13th at 2:00 p.m. at the Ohio Statehouse, Richard H. Finan Hearing Room, Room 126, 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, Ohio.