FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Over One Million Pensions Protected Thanks to the American Rescue Plan
FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Over One Million Pensions Protected Thanks to the American Rescue Plan

One million workers and retirees’ earned pension benefits protected as Administration and Senator Casey announce assistance for over 100,000 union workers and retirees covered by the Bakery and Confectionery Union and Industry International Pension Fund

Today in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Senator Bob Casey and Senior Advisor to the President and White House American Rescue Plan Coordinator Gene Sperling were joined by Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) President Anthony Shelton and workers and retirees from BCTGM Locals 464 and 6 to announce American Rescue Plan (ARP) assistance that will prevent benefit cuts for the roughly 103,000 workers and retirees—including over 6,700 in Pennsylvania—who earned these pension benefits over years or even decades, and faced cuts through no fault of their own. This is the second largest award to date through the American Rescue Plan’s Butch Lewis Act. This announcement brings the total number of pensions protected by the American Rescue Plan to over 1 million, including over 52,000 Pennsylvanians, 71,000 Illinoisans, 71,000 New Yorkers, 62,000 Ohioans, 61,000 Michiganders, 39,000 Missourians, 33,000 Wisconsinites and many more.

Today’s Announcement Protects the Earned Pensions of more than 103,000 Union Workers and Retirees from Devastating 45% cuts: Prior to passage of the ARP, the Bakery and Confectionery Union and Industry International Pension Fund was one of the largest financially distressed multiemployer pension plans in the nation. Workers in this plan include manufacturing, production, maintenance and sanitation workers in the baking and confectionery industries.

Without the historic support to protect workers’ pension benefits included in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, these workers and retirees—who have already earned these benefits—would have faced estimated benefit reductions of roughly 45% by the end of the decade. Instead, thanks to ARP, the plan will now be projected to pay full benefits to workers and retirees through at least 2051.

Today Marks Over One Million Workers and Retirees Protected to Date Thanks to President Biden Including this Protection into the American Rescue Plan: Administered by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the ARP’s Special Financial Assistance program—known as the “Butch Lewis Act” for the heroic Ohio union leader and pension advocate—will provided security for roughly 200 distressed multiemployer pension plans to ensure roughly 2 million workers’ pension plans remain solvent and will be able to pay the full benefits that workers have earned over the next several decades. These workers and their unions made the tough choice to take less wages in their working years to ensure that they could have the resources for a strong, dignified retirement. At no fault of their own, these workers on average faced devastating cuts—on average 37%—before the passage of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

With today’s announcement, the Biden Harris Administration has:

  • Delivered assistance to 83 pension plans covering over one million workers and retirees. Multiemployer plans that receive assistance are projected to remain solvent through at least 2051—with no cuts to earned benefits.
  • Prevented deep cuts of 37% on average: On average, those workers and retirees experienced or faced projected cuts of 37% of their earned benefits prior to ARP Special Financial Assistance. Over half of those 1 million workers or retirees had already experienced or faced projected benefit cuts of greater than 40% on average.
    • Avoided imminent cuts: Over half of those million workers and retirees are in pension plans that had already cut benefits or were projected to become insolvent by the end of 2025.
  • Restored Harsh Pension Benefit Cuts That Had Already Been Made for Tens of Thousands of Retirees in 36 Multiemployer Plans. For most workers and retirees, President Biden’s plan protected them from dire cuts and insolvency that was soon to come. Prior to enactment of the ARP, however, 36 such plans covering 120,000 workers and retirees already had suffered deep cuts due to their pension plans becoming insolvent or under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act (MPRA) in order to avoid future pension plan insolvency. Thanks to ARP Special Financial Assistance, benefit levels in these plans have been restored and retirees have been made whole, on average restoring several thousands of dollars of lost benefits.
  • Supported union workers and retirees across many industries, including:
    • Over 500,000 workers and retirees in Teamsters union pension plans
    • Over 120,000 workers and retirees in United Food and Commercial Workers pension plans
    • Over 110,000 workers and retirees in United Steelworkers and United Auto Workers pension plans
    • Over 100,000 workers and retirees in Bakery and Confectionery Workers union plans
    • Over 50,000 workers and retirees in Communications Workers of America union plans
  • Protected workers’ and retirees’ earned benefits across the country. The 20 states with the most workers and retirees benefitting from American Rescue Plan pension relief:
State Workers and Retirees
Illinois 71,000
New York 71,000
Ohio 62,000
Michigan 61,000
California 53,000
Pennsylvania 52,000
Missouri 39,000
Florida 35,000
Indiana 34,000
Wisconsin 33,000
Texas 33,000
Maryland 31,000
Minnesota 30,000
Georgia 23,000
Tennessee 22,000
New Jersey 18,000
North Carolina 18,000
Kentucky 17,000
Virginia 17,000
Alabama 15,000

Through the Special Financial Assistance Program, ARP included the most significant effort to protect the solvency of the multiemployer pension system in almost 50 years. Multiemployer plans are created through agreements between employers and a union, with plans typically involving multiple employers in a single industry or related industries. A typical worker whose multiemployer plan became insolvent would see their expected pension benefits slashed substantially. Before ARP, workers and retirees participating in more than 200 multiemployer pension plans faced the prospect of not receiving the full benefits they earned and need to support them and their families in retirement. These plans are insured by the PBGC, a federal agency which provides partial protection of the benefits of approximately 11.2 million workers and retirees in approximately 1,400 private-sector multiemployer, union-connected plans. Prior to the ARP, the PBGC’s multiemployer pension insurance program was itself projected to become insolvent in 2026. Thanks to the ARP, once-struggling multiemployer pension plans will be able pay the full benefits earned by workers and retirees who participate in these plans through at least 2051.

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Official news published at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2024/06/21/fact-sheet-biden-harris-administration-announces-over-one-million-pensions-protected-thanks-to-the-american-rescue-plan/