Washington tunes into fixes for Teamsters’ failing Central States pension

A short meeting with the nation’s Treasury secretary couldn’t fix the failing Central States Pension Fund, but it did fix attention on possible solutions.

Secretary Steven Mnuchin met last week with 25 Teamsters retirees from groups in 15 states. They included Olathe, Kansas, resident Tom Schwarzenberger, who said the focus on possible solutions to the pension’s funding shortfall marked something of a milestone.

Teamsters retirees last year made a concerted bid to prevent dramatic cuts to current retirees’ checks. Since then, they’ve taken many trips to Washington to get lawmakers and others to recognize their plight. Discussions now are about finding solutions.

“What we’ve accomplished in a year is incredible,” said Schwarzenberger, a member of the Missouri-Kansas City Committee to Protect Pensions. “Now, we’re known on Capitol Hill. It’s been a huge accomplishment.”

Central States has told its 400,000 members, more than half of whom already collect retirement checks, that it expects to run out of money within a decade. Central States is the largest of many multiemployer pensions that are in critical and declining financial condition.

Read more: Kansas City Star

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