Right now, the pensions of more than a million Americans are at risk of massive cuts. If we truly value a hard day’s work in this country, our government must keep the promise made to these workers, who could lose the lifeline they sacrificed for and worked to earn.
It’s bad enough that Wall Street squandered workers’ money — and it’s worse that the government that’s supposed to look out for these folks has failed to take action.
This crisis affects thousands of Ohioans — it affects the massive Central States Teamsters Pension Plan, the United Mine Workers Pension Plan, the Ironworkers Local 17 Pension Plan, the Ohio Southwest Carpenters Pension Plan, the Bakers and Confectioners Pension Plan, and others.
We can’t allow Ohio workers to be cheated out of the retirement they earned. I made that statement loud and clear with my guest at the State of the Union, Rita Lewis.
I named my legislation to save these pensions in honor of Rita’s late husband, Butch Lewis. He was the head of Teamsters Local 100 in Evendale, and he led the fight to save his fellow workers’ retirement. Now Rita carries the torch in honor of her late husband, and she came to Washington to once again call on Congress to take action to save these pensions and pass our legislation.
This issue goes to our fundamental values as a country. For too many workers, hard work just doesn’t pay off. We have to fix that — and we can start by keeping our promise to Rita and to these thousands of hardworking Ohioans.
Pension plans for Ohio retirees should be a part of any budget discussion moving forward. This isn’t a partisan issue — it affects communities in every state, and I look forward to working with my colleagues of both parties to solve this.
Sherrod Brown is the senior U.S. senator from Ohio.