In defense of the participants in the Multi-Employer Pension crisis, and wanting to share their voices:
The participants were not responsible for Deregulation in the trucking industry in 1980. These people understand shared sacrifice already, and paid for it when their companies told them they had to give back earned wages to keep the companies afloat, after 1980 and the participants did. 20%, 30%, even 40%, and the companies still went down.
The participants of Central States were not responsible for the Government pulling their fund away and giving it to Wall Street to manage in 1982 because of mob investments into Las Vegas, that MGM, Disney, and even our current President have invested in.
Participants in all funds were not responsible for what Wall Street did in 2008, and these pensions, especially those in the direct hands of some of these banks, lost, and they lost big. Though 2008 is excused and ignored, these banks were bundling up of bad mortgages and selling them off as good ones, in 2008, and should be likened to printing money from a copying machine and trying to pass it off as it off as good currency.
Was that the participants fault?
Central States lost $7 billion and another $2 billion in 14 months and right after UPS had just pulled out, and had given them $6.1 billion to cover the liability of their own UPS participants.
All the money given, plus more was gone in less than 14 months. No one could recover from that.
The CBO has just quoted it is $34 billion needed, not $100 billion.
But how much money is spent on disasters in this country and outside of it for non-Americans, and yet many, many of these retirees in these older funds, were drafted into Service for this country, fought for this country, and now have to fight to maintain dignity by fighting for what they earned in deferred compensation?
The Butch Lewis Act is loans, and we believe they will be paid back, and this why.
Older people in older funds, making the majority of the retirees in their mid seventies. Death rate in the U.S. is 78.
You just don’t do shared sacrifice with old people, who have sacrificed all their lives, were good Americans, and don’t have the strength anymore to battle things like this. These people are the fallout from greed. It was not their faults. They did what they should do, and should not have to give up, for the folly and mistakes of others.
They have already been there done that, and they will stand there ground on walkers and canes to fight for their own dignity. But why should they have to?
Last time I looked the American Dream didn’t include the word cuts or sacrifice, and if this country, starts deciding that the oldest and frailest in this country, can be sacrificed, how long before, those who are not old or weak will be sacrificed?
These are proud people. They were not lazy, nor lived off the system and yet, decisions could force them to suddenly do so. They helped build this country and still pay taxes on their pensions.
After what was done in the darkness in 2014 with the Multi-Employer Pension Reform Act and cuts of 50 to 70% these people are terrified it will be repeated. Without the participants voices being heard.
We just need to make the JSC understand this is a humanity issue, an economic issue that could devastate this country, and because there are just too many old people, who’s pensions are not large, but necessary, they need all of their deferred wages, to maintain their dignity until they die. Every single penny.
Pass the Butch Lewis Act with no cuts.
Mary Packett is Director of Protect our Pensions Iowa/Nebraska, an entity made up of participants in these Multi-Employer Plans all over the country.