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Casey, Wild Announce Special Financial Assistance For PA Union Pensions

Bob Casey, Susan Wild

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey and Rep. Susan Wild (D-07) announced today new Special Financial Assistance (SFA) protecting union workers’ and retirees’ pensions in Pennsylvania, made possible by the American Rescue Plan.

This investment totals over $860 million in Special Financial Assistance to the National Integrated Group Pension Plan (NIGPP), benefitting more than 48,000 workers and retirees in the manufacturing industry, including approximately 6,700 in Pennsylvania. Prior to this investment, the plan was projected to run out of money in 2034.

“The promise of a pension is a promise we’re supposed to keep,” said Casey. “Unfortunately for too many Americans, that promise has been taken away or never fulfilled. With today’s announcement, thousands of Pennsylvania steelworkers and auto workers can rest easy knowing that the benefits they’re owed will be waiting for them when they retire.

“Today’s announcement means that thousands of Pennsylvania workers will receive the full pension they earned after a lifetime of hard work,” said Wild. “It’s a great day for employees and retirees – and it’s thanks to the American Rescue Plan that this investment in our middle class and their retirement security is taking place.”

“Had it not been for SFA when would have had to reduce participants benefits by roughly 15 percent,” said Gordon Hartogensis, Director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). “The approval will enable the plan to continue to pay retirement benefits without reduction for many years into the future.”

Today’s announcement protecting the pensions of Pennsylvania workers is made possible by the American Rescue Plan’s Special Financial Assistance Program, under which multiemployer pension plans that are struggling financially can apply for to the PBGC for assistance. This provision was adopted from the Butch Lewis Act, legislation that Wild worked to pass in 2019 and pushed to include as a part of American Rescue Plan to find a long-term solution to the pension insolvency crisis.

“I was and I still am on the Education and Labor Committee,” said Wild. “We had many hearings on the Butch Lewis Act. I heard from many witnesses who told sad stories of how their pensions were at great risk, and some of them for whom their pension had been eviscerated, and it was heartbreaking. These are people who are no longer working age, who thought that they were going to retire with dignity and who were not able to.

“The announcement by the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation means hundreds of millions of dollars invested in paying out the full earned benefits of hardworking Pennsylvanians, like United Steel Workers and United Auto Workers. 48,000 workers and retirees with this coverage, many in Pennsylvania, will get what they earned after years and years of work.”

3 Responses

  1. I still remember how my dad’s pension was whacked by Sharon Steel bankruptcy after corporate raider stripped out assets. Corporate greed is a danger to the workers of America.

    1. Can someone explain how this works exactly? Is this a loan or are the taxpayers simply funding the pensions of steelworkers or auto workers? If the later, why did their unions negotiated a pension plan that was either unprotected or not sustainable?


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