CAMBRIDGE, OH – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined retired Ohio Mineworkers and Teamsters in Cambridge as he continues his work to address the pension crisis threatening more than 60,000 Ohioans and 1.3 million workers and retirees nationwide.

  • Brown secured the creation of a bipartisan House and Senate Joint Select Committee on Pensions as part of the overall budget compromise that passed earlier this year. Brown serves as committee Co-Chair.
  • The creation of the Select Committee will force both Houses of Congress to consider Brown’s proposal and produce a bipartisan solution that can be voted into law.
  • Earlier this year, Brown and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) hosted a field hearing of the Joint Pensions Committee in Columbus to hear from those affected by the crisis.

UMWA has had to fight for years to get Washington to keep the promises made to you. Before it was pensions it was healthcare. You never gave up. You demanded the people elected to serve you listen to the mineworkers who have powered this country. Now Co-Chairing the committee to save your pensions, and you can rest assured, I’m fighting for you, and we will continue this fight together,” said Brown.

Brown and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) co-chair the Committee, which is made up of eight Republicans and eight Democrats from both the House and Senate. Brown secured the creation of the Committee as part of the overall budget compromise that passed earlier this year. At Brown’s urging, the Committee will have instructions to report a bill by the last week of November, and will be required to hold at least five public meetings, including the option of field hearings outside of D.C., so members of Congress can hear directly from retirees, workers and businesses affected by the pension crisis. The solution the Committee produces will be guaranteed an expedited vote in the Senate without amendments.

Brown has been fighting for a solution to the pension crisis for years and introduced the Butch Lewis Act, named for a retired Ohio Teamster from West Chester, who passed away while fighting against cuts to the retirement he and his fellow workers earned. The creation of the Select Committee will force both Houses of Congress to consider Brown’s proposal and produce a bipartisan solution that can be voted into law.

Brown was joined in Cambridge by retired miners Dave Dilly and Norm Skinner, as well as Mike Walden, President of the National United Committee to Protect Pensions.

“I’m president of a retired local, and we’ve had many of our members pass away. Most of the widows I know rely on these pensions to just get by. That’s why this fight matters more than ever,” said Norm Skinner.

“Like many of my fellow Teamsters, I served my country proudly in the military and worked hard for decades to provide for my family,” said Walden, retired Teamster and Vietnam Veteran. “I’ve never asked for anything from this country, but I don’t want to see my government take away something we’ve worked hard for and earned.”

Numerous Ohio pension plans, including the massive Central States Teamsters Pension Plan, the United Mine Workers Pension Plan, the Ohio Southwest Carpenters Pension Plan and the Bakers and Confectioners Pension Plan are currently on the brink of failure. The Ironworkers Local 17 plan has already had to cut benefits. If nothing is done to the plans, they will fail and retirees will face massive cuts to the benefits they earned over decades of work.

If the plans are allowed to fail, not only will they no longer be able to pay promised benefits, but taxpayers would be at risk of having to pay billions because the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) would be on the hook for billions of dollars it cannot pay. PBGC is the arm of the federal government that insures pension plans. 

Details on the Joint-Select Committee to Solve the Pensions Crisis:

  • The Committee is made up of 16 members appointed by House and Senate leaders. The members include eight Senators and eight House members, equally divided between Republicans and Democrats.
  • The Committee has instructions to report a bill to solve the pension crisis by the final week of November.
  • If at least five members from each party agree on a compromise, the solution the Committee produces will be guaranteed an expedited vote on the Senate floor with no amendments.
  • The Committee is required to hold at least five public meetings.

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