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Baldwin and Sanders Introduce Pension Protection Bill

Milwaukee -

A group of retired union members say they feel betrayed by the Obama administration.

The Kline-Miller Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 was signed into law more than two years ago, and those retired union workers say the law puts nearly 10,000,000 pensions at risk of being cut.

Bob Amsden, who runs the Wisconsin/Milwaukee Committee to Protect Pensions, said, "It's the most egregious thing I've seen done in this country to elderly people. Not only do you have people who are retired, but you have veterans who have served this country, gave their all for this country, and now you're going to go and cut their pensions that they've worked 30 and 40 years for? It was their hard earned money, this is not an entitlement."

The 2014 provision allows struggling pension plans to scale back how much money is paid to retirees, and allows trustees of the plan to make the decision.

Amsden has helped lead the fight in Wisconsin against that provision.

Tuesday, Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) held a press conference to introduce a bill which would essentially reverse the 2014 provision.

Amsden says he’s hopeful President Donald Trump will support the legislation, and says many retired labors voted for Trump because he promised to protect their pensions.

Amsden said, "He got elected on the back of labor. Labor supported this man because of his promises he made on the campaign trail."

Tuesday, Amsden praised Baldwin for her work on the bill; he also praised Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI).

Tuesday, Ryan said in a statement, "I have serious concerns regarding the financial health of multi-employer pensions. I have met with some of the affected retirees, and i am deeply aware of their loss. I look forward to working with my colleagues to find a solution."

Also, a spokesman for Johnson said, “Senator Johnson has been engaged with the Wisconsin Central States participants for a couple of years on the multiemployer pension fund’s problems.”

Neither Ryan nor Johnson explicitly endorsed the Sanders-Baldwin bill.

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