Wisconsin Teamsters happy with pension funds in virus bill


GREEN BAY, Wis. — Thousands of Wisconsin Teamsters are celebrating after President Joe Biden signed the coronavirus relief bill into law and ensured that the workers no longer have to worry about their pensions being cut in half.

The American Rescue Plan includes the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021, which directs the Pension Guaranty Benefit Corp. to allocate billions of dollars to avoid the drastic cuts. It should in turn shore up the Central States Pension Fund, a multi-employer fund for 1.3 million retired Teamsters, 23,500 of whom live in Wisconsin.

Many of those retirees have come to depend on payments to survive, said Brad Vaughn, a member of the Wisconsin/Green Bay Committee to Protect Pensions.

“To say we are ecstatic would be an understatement,” Vaughn told the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “It was so emotional for everybody. It’s hard to even get a grasp on how many people’s lives it will affect in a positive way.”

The retirees formed regional committees across the state to lobby Congress first to reject the proposed pension cuts, which happened in May 2016, and then to support the Butch Lewis Act. They raised funds to send members to rallies, as well as to lobby Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation.

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