Biden announced a $36 billion bailout for the union’s pension plan

President Joe Biden announced Thursday that he would spend $36 billion on the union’s pension plan to avoid drastic cuts to retiree benefits, a week after signing a railroad labor agreement that was opposed by several unions.

The announcement is the largest federal award in history for retiree pensions and will be funded by Biden’s $1.9 trillion American rescue plan, according to the White House. $36 billion goes to the Central States Pension Fund, mostly for Teamster union members.

The $36 billion is about half of the federal funds available for retirement aid as part of the American rescue plan. The pension fund, which covers 350,000 members, was in danger of being cut by up to 60 percent, but the White House said the fund will now be stable until at least 2051.

“Thanks to today’s announcement, tens of thousands of union retirees and workers in states like Ohio, Michigan, Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri can sleep tonight knowing their hard-earned pensions will be there when they need them. they know it’s going to happen,” Biden said. He spoke at the White House with Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, Teamsters President Sean O’Brien and AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler.


President Biden on Thursday announced $36 billion in funding for the troubled union pension fund.
(AP/Alex Brandon)

Biden’s announcement comes a week after he negotiated a labor contract with railroad companies that did not include paid sick leave. Four unions argued that more paid sick days should be added to the contract, including the Teamsters technical union, but Congress passed the plan without additional sick time to prevent a strike.

Republican strategist Giancarlo Sopo said Biden’s decision was a call to union allies, who he expressed frustration with last week.

“Joe Biden is using taxpayer coffers as political leverage to ease tensions with unions after failing to fight for the paid sick leave workers want and, frankly, deserve,” Sopo said.

The White House said the timing of the announcement coincided with a Dec. 10 deadline to award pension benefits.

“We’re highlighting this because it’s the largest award of a special financial assistance program,” a White House official said.

AOC and Cory Bush vote “yes” on the railroad workers’ agreement, angering socialist comrades.

President Joe Biden and Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh

President Joe Biden and Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh

Mark Meek, president of the National Right to Work Committee, said bailing out failing pension plans without reform to keep the program afloat is pointless.

“Once again, Biden is paying for his Big Labor allies at the expense of taxpayers and the 90 percent of American workers who choose not to join a union,” Mix said. “Long before COVID, union officials mismanaged plans like the Teamsters Central States Fund, which makes it particularly offensive that the pandemic was used as an excuse for this bailout.”

Biden declared himself the most unionist president in history. He has held several positions with influential union leaders, including the National Labor Relations Board, the nation’s top labor arbitrator, and former Communications Workers of America attorney Jennifer Abruzzo. He pushed Congress to pass the PRO Act, which would repeal right-to-work laws in more than a dozen states that prohibit union membership as an employment contract.

Unions donated $27.5 million to the Biden campaign in 2020.

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President Biden's 2020 campaign received $27.5 million from unions.

President Biden’s 2020 campaign received $27.5 million from unions.
(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Clark Ballew, director of communications for the International Brotherhood of Highway Services, which opposed Biden’s rail deal, said the pensions are a relief for workers after not winning extra sick days.

“We cannot claim that the president’s decision this morning was directly influenced by our initiative in Congress last week, these teammates have worked so hard over the years to achieve this victory,” Ballew said. “But if what we did in Congress last week helped raise the Teamster pension, that’s fine. That’s a win in our book.”

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