GST Roach Endorses ‘Keeping Our Pension Promises’ Act

IAM General Secretary-Treasurer Robert Roach, Jr., speaks in support of the “Keeping Our Pension Promises Act” at a press conference in Washington, DC. The legislation was introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), far right, and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), second from right.

IAM General-Secretary Treasurer Robert Roach, Jr., gave the Machinists Union’s strongest endorsement for legislation introduced today to prohibit cuts in pensions for workers who have already retired.

Roach welcomed the introduction of the “Keeping Our Pension Promises Act” by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), as an essential ingredient to help restore retirement security for America’s seniors.

“I want to thank Sen. Sanders and Rep. Kaptur for introducing this much-needed legislation,” said Roach. “We know that there can be no real retirement security if your pension can be cut after you retire.”

The anti-cutback rule was significantly weakened last year as part of the Omnibus Spending Bill.

“Forty years ago when Employee Retirement Insurance Security Act (ERISA) was passed, this fundamental truth was recognized with the creation of the anti-cutback rule,” said Roach. “Allowing cuts in promised benefits is a ticket to dependence on government assistance.”

The IAM has firsthand experience with a well-run pension plan. The IAM’s National Pension Fund has over 1,750 contributing employers and is the 5th largest multiemployer plan in the U.S. With assets of nearly $11 billion the IAM National Pension Fund provides retirement security to over 90,000 retirees and beneficiaries.

“Tens of thousands of airline workers faced the loss of their pensions in the wake of the 9-11 attacks and the airlines bankruptcies that followed,” said Roach. “We were able to protect those pensions with the IAM National Pension Fund, and we’re ready to protect them yet again with the Keeping Our Pension Promises Act.

“While most pension plans are properly funded, some have funding challenges because of deregulation, bad trade policies and the financial mistakes of Wall Street,” said Roach. “Retirees should not be made to unjustly suffer because of issues that they had no involvement in.”