(L-R: Sen. Brown, Dave Dilly, Norm Skinner, UMWA President Roberts)
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today renewed his call to protect the hard-earned pensions of retired Ohio coal miners during a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee on multiemployer pension plans. United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) President Cecil Roberts also testified about the devastating impact pension cuts could have on retired miners and their families. Roberts brought two retired Ohio coal miners from Coshocton County with him to today’s hearing.
The UMWA’s 1974 pension plan was 94 percent funded prior to 2008. Due to many factors including the financial crisis and fewer active workers, the plan is now severely underfunded – putting the health care and benefits of retirees in jeopardy. If the plan becomes insolvent, retirees could see reductions in their monthly pension checks. Brown is the cosponsor of the Miners Protection Act to address the shortfall in the UMWA 1974 pension plan.
“Congress has a responsibility to America’s retired mine workers to protect the pensions they’ve earned for a lifetime of back-breaking work,” said Brown. “I was pleased to meet with Dave and Norm whose UMWA plans and health care are in jeopardy if we fail to act. It is our job to pass the bipartisan Miners Protection Act and there is no more important legislation before this Committee than this bill.”
Prior to the hearing, Brown met with two retired miners from the UMWA Local 1188 Chapter, including: