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  1. #1
    I Am Rocking Now

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    Default Teamster pensions..

    I have over the last few weeks signed a few petitions put forward from the Pension Rights Center and AARP.. Yesterday I received a letter or actually an e-mail from Senator Casey in PA..

    Dear Mr.

    Thank you for taking the time to contact me with your thoughts and concerns about pensions. I appreciate hearing from you about this issue.

    Over the last few decades, traditional employer-sponsored pension plans, known as defined benefit plans, have been on the decline. In 1980, 38 percent of private-sector workers were covered by defined benefit plans; by 2014, that number shrank to 16 percent of the private-sector workforce. This decline in defined benefit plans has left millions of retired workers facing severe financial challenges. I believe a healthy pension system can provide workers with a safety net for retirement. To accomplish this goal, efforts should be made to reinvigorate our pension system so that proper saving for retirement is shared by workers and their employers.

    The economic downturn severely impacted the funding status of defined benefit plans. Congress responded by passing a number of pension relief measures. First, there was the Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008, which included a number of essential funding relief measures. Principal among these were changes to the Pension Protection Act of 2006 that allowed flexibility in meeting pension-funding requirements by smoothing out the pension plans' value for accounting purposes, and eliminating a requirement that sponsors fully fund their pension plans on an accelerated basis if they fail to meet a particular year's funding target.



    In June 2010, the Preservation of Access to Care for Medicare Beneficiaries and Pension Relief Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President. This law provides funding relief for single-employer and multiemployer pension plans that suffered significant losses in asset value due to the recession. The legislation mandates an employer to make additional contributions to the pension plan if the employer pays an executive more than $1 million in compensation per year during the first part of the relief period.

    In December 2014, as part of H.R. 83, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, Congress enacted the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014, which makes several fundamental reforms to rules governing multiemployer pension plans. The bill also allows plans projected to become insolvent within the next 15 to 20 years to suspend or reduce benefit payments. Any benefit reductions will be subject to several restrictions. They will need to be approved both by the Treasury Department and by a majority of plan participants in a vote. Additionally, disabled beneficiaries and beneficiaries 80 years or older will be exempt from any benefit reductions, and benefit payments will remain at a minimum of 110 percent of the level guaranteed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

    These pension reforms also included a permanent extension of flexible funding rules for critical and endangered plans that were set to expire at the end of 2014. Additionally, the bill will give the PBGC more flexibility to facilitate mergers between multiemployer plans and double the premium that multiemployer plans pay to the PBGC.

    I have serious concerns about these reforms, specifically about the provisions allowing cuts to pension benefits. These provisions are a significant departure from a longstanding policy principle that protected retiree benefits from cuts or suspensions. As a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and the Senate Committee on Finance, which share jurisdiction over the PBGC, I am committed to ensuring that these reforms are implemented in a way that is fair and transparent and that protects the basic rights of plan participants. Please be assured that should further legislation affecting pension plans come before the Senate for consideration, I will keep your views in mind.

    I have also joined with Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia to introduce legislation to protect the pensions of our nation’s coal miners. The Miners Protection Act of 2015 would ensure that the federal government and coal operators honor their obligation of lifetime pensions and health benefits to retired miners and their families by transferring funds in excess of the amounts needed to meet existing obligations under the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) fund to the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) 1974 Pension Plan to prevent its insolvency. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Finance. Please be assured that I will continue to advocate for this important legislation as the Committee continues its review of the bill.

    Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.

    For more information on this or other issues, I encourage you to visit my website, http://casey.senate.gov. I hope you will find this online office a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.

    Sincerely,
    Bob Casey
    United States Senator

    I have also received a pre-printed form letter from Senator Toomey that for the most part said nothing.. Today December 6th there is going to be a phone blitz to Washington about the pension crisis.. This is from my facebook page.

    PHONE BLITZ, TUESDAY 10AM-3PM
    202-224-3121, follow prompts, enter zip code. Tell your Congress member you are opposed to the Composite proposal and another ambush to attach it to the spending bill or appropriations. Do it right this time unlike the worthless MPRA 2014.
    A National phone Blitz is needed.

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  3. #2
    Taking A Stand!!!

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    Exclamation Don’t Let Congress Pull a Secret Deal - Stop the Pension Composite Bill

    John Kline, the Minnesota congressman that snuck through the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act (MEPRA) as part of the omnibus spending bill in 2014, is at it again. MEPRA allowed Central States and other Funds in “critical status” to propose drastic cuts to earned benefits.

    Now a new bill, affecting hundreds of thousands of additional earned pensions, could be pushed through Congress as early as this Wednesday, December 7. The Pension Rights Center has set up a link on their website to make it easy for you, your family, and other retirees to contact their representatives in Congress to oppose this ill-conceived proposal.

    Before hundreds of thousands – or millions – of workers have their pensions slashed, we demand open Congressional hearings, not a back-room deal to sneak a bill onto the budget without a single vote ever taken on it. See this letter from Senator Al Franken of Minnesota on this dirty deal, calling for an open debate and vote.

    The Minnesota Committee to Protect Pensions held a meeting of nearly 400 in St. Paul this past Saturday. They plan to hold a protest this coming Saturday, December 10, at John Kline’s Burnsville, Minnesota office.
    Don

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  5. #3
    Retired !

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    Default Re: Teamster pensions..

    I received my letter from Senator Menendez on the pension issues. Below is a copy of his letter ( without my name and header )
    Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to changes to multiemployer pension plans. Your opinion is very important to me, and I appreciate the opportunity to respond to you on this critical issue.
    You may be pleased to know that I voted against the Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus bill largely because of its harmful provisions impacting multiemployer pension plans. Specifically, those provisions allowed for cuts to current retirees' pensions in situations where the plan is in danger of fiscal insolvency. While members of these plans will be allowed to vote on proposals to cut benefits, I am deeply troubled that cuts could still take place even after the proposal was disapproved by plan participants.
    As you may know, Congressman John Kline of Minnesota has released draft legislation that proposes to make further changes to multiemployer pension plans by creating a new structure called a composite plan. These plans would combine defined contribution features with lifetime income provided through annuities. Currently there is no formal legislation introduced before the House of Representatives or the Senate that would permit the use of these composite plans by employers. Please be assured I will continue to work to protect of multiemployer pensions and will keep your views in mind should such legislation be presented before the full United States Senate for a vote.
    Although historically multiemployer plans have been successful, declining union membership, high retirement rates, and the recent recession have put a financial strain on many of these plans. However, I reject the notion that the solution to this problem lies with cutting the benefits of current retirees, benefits they earned through a lifetime of hard work and now depend on to live. With these cuts, the sense of security Americans deserve to have in their retirement has been severely undermined. This is unacceptable. We simply cannot allow earned retirement security to disappear for America's workers. Please rest assured that I will continue to fight to ensure that the pensions and benefits that Americans have earned through years of hard work are strong, safe, and available as intended.
    Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. This issue is very important to me and I appreciate your support. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance. I invite you to visit my website (http://menendez.senate.gov) to learn more about how I am standing up for New Jersey families in the United States Senate.
    Once again, John Kline of Minnesota is attacking the multi-employer pensions and the promises made to us during our employment.

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  7. #4
    I Am Rocking Now

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    Default Re: Teamster pensions..

    Been four years now and the idiots in Washington still cannot fix our pension problems.. Just more broken promises..

    https://content.govdelivery.com/acco...ApM3ZTOzNUvK00

    WASHINGTON – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following joint statement on multiemployer pension relief and reform negotiations.



    “Over a year ago, we released a proposal to avert the collapse of critically underfunded multiemployer pension plans, which are private-sector pensions sponsored by more than one employer and negotiated as part of a union collective bargaining agreement. Our proposal also reformed the rules for these plans to prevent future funding shortfalls within these important pillars of the American retirement system.



    “For the past two weeks, we have engaged in intense negotiations with our Democratic colleagues in the Senate and House to seek a deal to resolve the impending multiemployer pension crisis.



    “Our objective has been to provide relief for the failing multiemployer pension plans that cover about 1.5 million retirees and help secure the retirement benefits of millions of other retirees that are at risk should the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s insurance fund start to run dry in 2026, as currently projected. While we agree that significant federal funds will be needed to solve the current crisis, reforms are essential to ensure the multiemployer pension system can be self-sustaining and honor benefit promises over the long term instead of relying on taxpayers to bail out a private-sector system in perpetuity.



    “Since we introduced our multiemployer pension relief and reform plan last November, we have worked to strike that balance between relief for today’s failing plans and reforms to ensure taxpayers don’t have to bail out the system again in the coming years. The foundation of our reform plan is that all stakeholders have a role in fixing the system from the employers, unions and pension plans to the employees and retirees.
    “We have gone into the recent discussions in good faith and know that our colleagues have as well. While each side has agreed to make significant changes, we have yet to find an agreement that satisfies our respective principles and objectives for resolving this situation. We have reached the point where we are out of time to strike an agreement that can be scored by the Congressional Budget Office and reviewed by our Senate and House colleagues to include in an end-of-year package. However, we remain committed to finding a solution and will continue looking for a balanced, sensible approach to resolve this increasingly critical problem.”

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  9. #5
    I Am Rocking Now

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    Default Re: Teamster pensions..

    We have reached the point where we are out of time to strike an agreement that can be scored by the Congressional Budget Office and reviewed by our Senate and House colleagues to include in an end-of-year package.
    I didn't really expect them to settle the pension problem this year. I think that with the Covid-19 pandemic costs soaring pension relief will be put back on the bottom of the pile.

  10. #6
    I Am Rocking Now

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    Default Re: Teamster pensions..

    Just another promise?? Sen Grassley on the multi employer pension mess..


 

 

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