Biden Gives $36B From American Rescue Plan to Union Pensions

Biden, Phoenix, United States - 06 Dec 2022
Ross D Franklin / AP /

On Dec. 8, President Joe Biden announced $36 billion for the Central States Pension Fund — the largest ever award of federal financial support for worker and retiree pension security and the largest award from the American Rescue Plan’s Special Financial Assistance Program.

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The financial aid will prevent pension benefit cuts of 60% in the next few years for 350,000 Central States Pension Fund workers and retirees, the White House detailed in a fact sheet.

“Ensuring that workers and their families enjoy the retirement security they earned through a lifetime of work is a central part of President Biden’s economic plan,” the White House stated.

The White House added that the Central States Pension Fund — which has participants in several states — will now be able to pay full benefits to workers and retirees through 2051.

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The Special Financial Assistance Program, announced in July, aims to help workers in multiemployer pension plans who faced significant cuts to their benefits, according to a previous White House fact sheet. 

The financial aid will benefit workers and retirees in several states, including 40,000 workers and retirees in Michigan, 40,000 in Ohio, 28,000 in Missouri, 25,000 in Illinois, 22,000 in Texas, 22,000 in Wisconsin, 20,000 in Indiana, 19,000 in Minnesota, 19,000 in Florida and 14,000 in Tennessee, according to the fact sheet.

The White House added that prior to passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, the Central States Pension Fund, “was the largest financially distressed multiemployer pension plan in the nation. Workers in this plan include truck drivers, warehouse workers, construction workers, and food processors.”

“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 benefits security, according to The Seattle Times.

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As The Seattle Times reported, several union retirement plans have been under distress, partly due to underfunding.

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 “Central States Pension Fund awarded $35.8 billion to restore retiree earned benefits. Thanks to @SenSherrodBrown @POTUS and @OHDems in Congress for standing up for workers and retirees,” the Ohio AFL-CIO tweeted.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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