November 20, 2019

Retiree Organization Provides Resources to Address the U.S. Pension Crisis

Speakers included Rep. John Larson and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler

 Washington, DC – More than two dozen speakers from unions and government agencies, as well as bankruptcy attorneys, young workers and others, shared strategies to address the growing pension crisis and the effects of corporate bankruptcy on millions of Americans at a two-day conference this week. Seminar attendees also discussed other pillars of retirement security, including Social Security and Medicare.

Congressman John Larson of Connecticut, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler all spoke about steps that should be taken to protect the retirement benefits that workers have earned after a lifetime of hard work.

Representative Larson stressed the importance of H.R. 860, the Social Security 2100 Act he introduced to strengthen the Social Security system. “The time to act is now,” said Larson. “Social Security isn’t an entitlement, it’s an earned benefit. It’s time that we strengthen and expand it with the Social Security 2100 Act, so seniors can retire in dignity.”

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka spoke about the need to protect pension benefits when companies declare bankruptcy. “The bankruptcy laws are not designed to protect retirees who worked hard their entire lives – they protect the millionaires and CEOs. That is a major problem when ten percent of pension plans are in danger of insolvency.”

Elizabeth Shuler, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO, called for passing of two pieces of legislation pending in Congress to provide immediate relief to millions of workers at risk of losing their earned pension and health benefits “We must pass the American Miners Act of 2019 and the Butch Lewis Act,” said Secretary-Treasurer Shuler. This legislation would benefit workers whose companies have declared bankruptcy and also ensure that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation remains solvent.

“We are aligned with Representative Larson on the need to strengthen Social Security, and appreciate his endorsement of H.R. 935, the Miners Pension Protect Act,” said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “Alliance members have long advocated for Social Security expansion, and we are endorsing the Social Security 2100 Act with proposed modifications that Representative Larson outlined in his speech to us.”
“The median retirement account balance is just $3,000 for working-age households and $12,000 for near-retirement households,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance. “Strengthening retirement security will help these families and improve the economy of the communities they live in.”

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Contact:  David Blank – 202/637-5275 or dblank@retiredamericans.org

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