Massive pension cuts proposed by the Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund will figure prominently in a U.S. Senate hearing Tuesday.
The Senate Finance Committee will take up “The Multi-employer Pension Plan System: Recent Reforms and Current Challenges” at 9 a.m. Central. Live video of the hearing will be available online.
Central States, which covers 400,000 workers and retirees, has said it needs $11 billion to avoid collapse in the next 10 years. It has proposed cutting the benefits of current retirees, many by half or more, under a controversial 2014 law.
Multi-employer plans, such as Central States, provide benefits to workers at many companies. Central States is severely underfunded in part because of the collapse of hundreds of companies, many of which failed to pay into the fund all that they owed.
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Two small pension funds also have sought changes under the 2014 law.
Presenters scheduled for the Washington hearing include Rita Lewis, an Ohio woman who receives benefits from Central States as the widow of a driver who died late last year.
Tuesday’s hearing follows a string of public sessions at which retirees and others attacked the pension fund’s planned cuts, set to begin in July if approved. Many at a session in Kansas City pushed for a delay to find other solutions.
Last week, trustees of Central States urged lawmakers to support its plan. The trustees said in a letter to lawmakers that government funding to close the gap would be the only viable alternative.
The U.S. Treasury has tapped mediator Kenneth Feinberg to decide whether the Central States proposal meets the requirements of the 2014 law.
Others scheduled Tuesday are Joshua Gotbaum at the Brookings Institution, Andrew G. Biggs at the American Enterprise Institute and Cecil E. Roberts Jr. with the United Mine Workers of America.