TCU Responds to GOP Attack on Railroad Retirement Benefits

TCU National President Robert Scardelletti issued a statement on the passage of the so-called Ryan Budget in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The measure includes a provision stating railroad retirement benefits “are more generous than Social Security.” The budget goes on to call for legislation to conform railroad retirement Tier 1 benefits “so that its benefits would equal those of Social Security, with an estimated savings to taxpayers of $2 billion over 10 years.”

“From the moment the budget hit the floor, TCU, IAM and the other rail unions mobilized to defeat it,” said Scardelletti. “Even though the above quoted budget language reflects a fundamental misunderstanding about how railroad retirement is funded, there is no doubt as to its intent: to eliminate occupational disability and 60/30 retirement, as those are the two chief benefits that exceed Social Security benefits.

“As railroad workers and retirees, we understand that those benefits are completely funded by the taxes we and railroad employers pay. But that doesn’t matter to the Republican majorities who voted for this. All they see is a chance to target yet another group of workers in the name of budget austerity. Why let facts stand in the way?”

In addition to lowering railroad retirement benefits, the so-called Ryan budget calls for substantial cuts to federal jobs, salaries and retirement benefits. It reduces the top individual and corporate tax rates to 25 percent, giving the wealthiest Americans an average tax cut of at least $150,000 a year. The money would come from massive cuts and overhauls to programs for the elderly, lower- and middle-class families, and the poor – Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and student loans.