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Biden Releasing Nearly $36B for Unions 12/08 06:10

   

   (AP) -- President Joe Biden on Thursday is announcing the infusion of nearly 
$36 billion to shore up a financially troubled union pension plan, preventing 
severe cuts to the retirement incomes of more than 350,000 Teamster workers and 
retirees across the United States.

   The money for the Central States Pension Fund is the largest amount of 
federal aid provided for a pension plan, the Biden administration said, and 
comes from the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package 
that he signed into law in 2021.

   Many union retirement plans have been under financial pressure because of 
underfunding and other issues. Without the federal assistance, Teamster members 
could have seen their benefits reduced by an average of 60% starting within a 
couple of years.

   "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.

   Multiemployer pension funds are created by agreements between unions and 
companies and are partially insured by the federal government's Pension Benefit 
Guaranty Corporation. The insurance program was on track to become insolvent in 
2026, but the pandemic relief money is expected to keep it on firm footing 
through 2051.

   Biden traveled to Ohio in July to highlight the final rules for the pension 
relief program. Before Thursday, the program had awarded aid to 36 troubled 
pension plans, but none of those had received more than about $1.2 billion.

   The amount going to the Central States Pension Fund represents somewhere 
between one-third and one-half of the total estimated cost of the federal aid 
program.

   The retirement plan has participants in almost every state, with the largest 
concentration in the Midwest. There are about 40,000 participants in both 
Michigan and Ohio, nearly 28,000 in Missouri, 25,000 in Illinois and about 
22,000 each in Texas and Wisconsin, according to figures provided by the White 
House.

 
 
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