03.22.21

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Successfully Secures Provisions in American Rescue Plan to Solve Pension Crisis for Wisconsin Workers and Retirees

The American Rescue Plan includes the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act that will save the retirement benefits of 22,500 pension plan participants in Wisconsin

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin worked to successfully secure provisions in the American Rescue Plan that will ensure workers and retirees – including 22,500 in Wisconsin – can keep the retirement they have earned so their families and livelihoods are not put at risk. Baldwin voted for the American Rescue Plan that President Joe Biden signed into law in early March.

“There are about 22,500 workers and retirees in Wisconsin who were facing massive cuts to their pensions, through no fault of their own. There are also more than 100 employers in the state that were on the hook for a pension liability they may not have been able to afford. I worked for six years with Wisconsin workers and retirees to make sure they would get the pensions that they worked for and earned, and finally, we were able to get this done in the American Rescue Plan,” said Senator Baldwin. “This is a big deal, and I am so proud that now these Wisconsin workers and retirees have the peace of mind of knowing that their pensions will be there for them and for their families when they need it. A pension is a promise and it should be kept.”

Multiemployer pensions provide retirement income to over 10 million hard-working Americans for approximately 200,000 employers across America. Over one million of these workers and retirees – including 22,500 in Wisconsin – were in danger of losing their hard-earned benefits. Even before the COVID-19 crisis, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s (PBGC) multiemployer program was facing insolvency by 2026. The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated what was already a crisis for our pension system.

The American Rescue Plan addresses this crisis with provisions from the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act, which will:

  • Secure the retirement benefits of those workers and retirees in imperiled multiemployer pension plans for 30 years—with no cuts to the earned benefits of participants and beneficiaries;
  • Stabilize the PBGC’s multiemployer pension program for at least 20 years; and
  • Provide necessary relief for single employer pension plans, which are under strain from the market turmoil caused by the pandemic emergency.

A letter of support from the Teamsters Local Union 200 in Milwaukee is available here. A letter of support from U.S. employers is available here.