MESSAGE FROM SECRETARY-TREASURER
Steven P. Vairma
Steve Vairma's Column:
Congress must deliver on pension promise
Teamsters living and working within the seven states of Teamsters Joint Council 3 are fortunate.
They are not plagued daily by the nagging dread of retirement without a livable income. Rather, they are secure in the knowledge that their solid, financially stable defined pension plan the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Fund will be there for them when they retire.
Unfortunately, though, not all Teamsters and members of other unions are so lucky. Over the years, they have paid into faltering multi-employer pensions.
There are about 1.5 million retirees in desperate need of quick action to save the retirement nest eggs they spent decades contributing to on the premise they would be financially secure in their golden years. There also are hundreds of thousands of active workers who are enrolled in these pension plans who deserve assistance too.
A bipartisan House bill is providing a vehicle to help Teamsters, retirees and other union members who paid into faltering multiemployer pensions received the retirement security they deserve.
There's no time to lose.
There are more than 300 multiemployer plans across the country including the Teamsters' Central States Pension Fund - that are in danger of failing. Congress needs to find a solution that will deliver for these hard-working Americans who are paying, or have paid, into the pension pool and have played by the rules all of their lives.
Fortunately, the Rehabilitation of Multiemployer Pensions Act will solve the problem. The bill is continuation of an effort to reform the system that first began in 2015. The eight House Republican co-sponsors understand the value of the bill and should be lauded for supporting this legislation.
The measure would boost financially-troubled multiemployer pensions so they don't fail. It would create an agency under the Treasury Department that would sell bonds in the open market to large investors such as financial firms.
The agency, The Pension Rehabilitation Administration (PRA) would then lend money from the sale of bonds to the financially-troubled pension plans. Plans that are deemed "critical and declining," as well as recently insolvent but non-terminated plans, and those that have suspended benefits would be eligible to apply for the program.
Pension plans borrowing from PRA would be required to set aside the loan proceeds in separate, safe investments such as annuities or bonds that match the pension payments for retirees. For those plans needing additional help to meet retiree obligations, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation would be available to make up the difference.
Those applying for loans to the PRA which would be charged with approving all loans before they could be issued would have to submit detailed financial projections. Pension plans that have borrowed money would have to submit reports every three years to the PRA to show that the loans are working.
Workers and retirees aren't asking for a handout; they just want what is rightfully theirs. We urge those on Capitol Hill to work together and pass a bipartisan solution that will make workers and retirees whole.
They've waited long enough.
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We Are eXPOsing XPO’s Global Greed
XPO Logistics is a top ten global logistics and transportation company with annual revenue of $15 billion and 89,000 employees, another 10,000 workers classified as independent contractors, and thousands more working for firms that subcontract with XPO. We are the REAL workers at XPO Logistics worldwide exposing the truth about the company’s global greed, illegal wage theft, unsafe conditions, and abhorrent and vicious anti-worker, anti-union tactics.
This greed includes mistreating former Con-way Freight workers in the United States who are being kept in the dark about terminal closures and layoffs, and the company’s illegal refusal to bargain contracts and denying their workers’ federally protected right to organize. It also includes port, rail and last-mile drivers around the country and in Southern California fighting wage theft in excess of $200 million because they are misclassified as independent contractors and denied the right to form their union. This greed has caused numerous lawsuits and strikes. Greed also means an unsafe workplace and mistreating its warehouse employees.
XPO’s greed extends to Europe beginning with breaking its promise to not layoff any workers for at least 18 months. French workers and the unions have been fighting back against XPO’s disrespect, lies and attempts to slash jobs. Similar struggles are taking place in Great Britain, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, and across Europe.
Join the worldwide struggle now! Get involved with this campaign by joining the Facebook group “XPO Exposed.”
Together, we can eXPOse the company’s global greed and win fairness, respect and dignity for tens of thousands of XPO employees around the world!
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