Biden Releasing Nearly $36B for Unions 12/08 06:10
(AP) -- President Joe Biden on Thursday is announcing the infusion of nearly
$36 billion to shore up a financially troubled union pension plan, preventing
severe cuts to the retirement incomes of more than 350,000 Teamster workers and
retirees across the United States.
The money for the Central States Pension Fund is the largest amount of
federal aid provided for a pension plan, the Biden administration said, and
comes from the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package
that he signed into law in 2021.
Many union retirement plans have been under financial pressure because of
underfunding and other issues. Without the federal assistance, Teamster members
could have seen their benefits reduced by an average of 60% starting within a
couple of years.
"Union workers and their families are finally able to breathe a huge sigh of
relief, knowing that their hard-earned retirement savings have been rescued
from steep cuts," said Lisa Gomez, assistant labor secretary for employee
Multiemployer pension funds are created by agreements between unions and
companies and are partially insured by the federal government's Pension Benefit
Guaranty Corporation. The insurance program was on track to become insolvent in
2026, but the pandemic relief money is expected to keep it on firm footing
Biden traveled to Ohio in July to highlight the final rules for the pension
relief program. Before Thursday, the program had awarded aid to 36 troubled
pension plans, but none of those had received more than about $1.2 billion.
The amount going to the Central States Pension Fund represents somewhere
between one-third and one-half of the total estimated cost of the federal aid
The retirement plan has participants in almost every state, with the largest
concentration in the Midwest. There are about 40,000 participants in both
Michigan and Ohio, nearly 28,000 in Missouri, 25,000 in Illinois and about
22,000 each in Texas and Wisconsin, according to figures provided by the White