AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A group of local teamsters will be getting together with lawmakers to speak out against an upcoming decision that could affect the retirement benefits of thousands in the Mahoning Valley and nearly 1.6 million in the Midwest Thursday.
More than 50 members of the Local Teamsters Union 377 took a bus to Washington D.C. to meet up with U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman around 2 a.m. Thursday.
The Teamsters are hoping their group and the politicians can help protect the Central States Pension Fund. In hopes they will decide not to cut pensions, they will be rallying outside the Finance Hearing in Washington D.C. on Thursday afternoon.
Retired 377 Teamster Member Bob Sine said he and at least 47,000 Ohioans would be ruined if the pension fund is reduced.
“I’ll lose my home, I’ll lose my vehicle, I’ll lose my insurance, and I’ll pretty much be penniless in a short period of time,” said Sine. “I’m a caretaker for my wife Rosalie, and I have to be with her 24-7.”
If the cuts are approved, Bob said the cuts could be in the hundreds of millions. The cuts would take affect as early as July 1.
Sen. Brown said in a press release, this is possible through the Multi-Employer Pension Reform Act. MERPA allows pension trustees, like Central States, to propose participant and retiree benefit cuts, if the plans are in “critical and declining” status.