Underfunded by nearly $1.5 billion, earlier this week, the Western Pennsylvania Teamsters and Employers Pension Fund got approval from the U.S. Treasury to cut pension benefits by 30% across the board, according to Pension & Investments.
According to its Sept. 28 MPRA application, United Parcel Service Inc.employees make up 29% of the pension fund’s active population and UPS represents 58% of total employer contributions to the plan.
Along with investment losses after 2000 and 2008 that forced pension fund officials to draw down assets, retirees now outnumber active workers by 3 to 1, and several employers have withdrawn because of the plan’s critical and declining status, in some cases with their employees’ approval.
Financial troubles experienced by the pension fund’s second-largest employer, YRC Worldwide Inc., in 2009 stopped or reduced that company’s contributions for several years, and another large contributor, Giant Eagle Inc., withdrew from the plan in 2016, in part because of repeated contribution increases, the trustees said in the application.
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As a long-time opponent to pension cuts–even on funds that cannot afford to pay out pensioneers—Sen. Bernie Sanders announced on Wednesday that if elected president, he will institute “an immediate moratorium on cuts to pension benefits that are overseen by the federal government.”
“In a speech to the International Association of Machinists, Sanders said that he will appoint a Treasury secretary who will stop approving such cuts, and he will push to pass his existing legislation to permanently block those kind of cuts in the future,” reported the VT Digger.