YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Current and retired Teamster union members gathered at union hall on Sunday to discuss major pension cuts.
“They’re down here to talk about what they can do to contact the Treasury Department, and try to hold this off and make different changes other than the cuts they want to do now,” said Teamsters Secretary of Treasure Ralph Cook.
Starting July 1st, hundreds of thousands of retirees who have their pensions managed by Central States Pension Fund could see their payments cut by 60 percent.
“It’s like they went into your bank account, stole your money right out of your bank account. This is money we earned over the years,” said retiree Bob Sine. “I probably put in $410,000 plus, and it looks as if I won’t ever see it, I mean not while I’m alive. That’s a dirty shame.”
“That would kind of be like someone is working for $12 an hour, and they come to them at the end of the day and say, ‘Okay, starting tomorrow, you’re working for $6 an hour. You don’t have a choice,'” retiree Kenneth Chenlikas said.
“We’re informing people because we don’t feel that the pension fund of Central State is reaching out to these people to let them know what’s happening, other than one letter saying that it’s going to happen. We’re fighting the issue through Congress,” said Mike Walden of the Committee to Protect Pensions.
Congressmen including Tim Ryan and Bill Johnson are also fighting against these cuts.
“They are working to stop these draconic cuts that will kill and maim these people,” Walden said.
Thirty years ago, there was one retiree for every five active workers. Today there is only one worker for every three retirees, so there are not enough people paying into the plan. At that rate, the fund will be out of money in ten years.
“A lot of the people in this meeting still got house payments, car payments, trying to put their kids through college,” said retiree Bruce Kirkland. “To me, it’s nothing but a slap in the face for all the things that we have done.”
Members are continuing to voice their opinions to senators but as of right now, they will be losing most of their pensions in just five months.