(Mid-America Pension Rights Project): U.S. House passes legislation to prop up Teamsters, multi-employer pension plans

Via Tribune News Services

By Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House on Wednesday approved legislation intended to prop up multi-employer pension plans including the Central States Pension Plan that covers Teamsters in Detroit and across the country.

Ultimately, the legislation, which was co-sponsored by eight Michigan members of Congress, including both Democrats and Republicans, would protect pensions for more than 43,000 Central States Pension Plan recipients in Michigan if signed into law.

The bill, however, is unlikely to be approved in the U.S. Senate.

The legislation would establish a new federal agency that would be authorized to issue government bonds to finance loans to multi-employer pension plans that are struggling and whose recipients are threatened with seeing benefits suspended or reduced.

Last December, W. Thomas Reeder, director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., a federal agency that exists to try to support pension benefits for plans across the U.S., said it was facing a $54 billion shortfall in part because of the pressure put on it by failing multi-employer plans and could be out of business by 2025 without a change in the law.

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