Campaigning in Iowa, Bernie Sanders released a comprehensive labor plan today as he and other Democratic presidential candidates addressed the Iowa Federation of Labor’s annual convention in Altoona.
Included in Sanders’ plan is a repeal of an Obama executive order, signed in 2014, allowing for major pension theft across private sector industries.
The 2014 bill, endorsed and signed by President Obama led to what was the first cuts in earned pension benefits to current retirees in over 40 years.
Writing in the Intercept in 2016, David Dayen:
The pension changes in the CRomnibus enable trustees of multi-employer plans — union-negotiated pension benefit funds that cover employees across entire industries like trucking or construction — to apply to the Treasury Department to cut benefits for current retirees in order to stretch the fund’s resources. This changed the ban on cutting such benefits written into the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974, which governs private-sector pension plans.
There were no public hearings on this change to pension law, and the details were only made available days before the vote. The bill’s sponsors, Republican John Kline and now-retired Democrat George Miller, insisted that the rider was necessary to extend the life of the pension plans through collective sacrifice. Roughly 150 to 200 multi-employer plans covering 1.5 million workers face significant fiscal strains that could cause a drain on funds in the next 20 years.
But Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times warned in 2014 that “panicky trustees — usually union and employer representatives — could act prematurely, cutting the income of retirees who can’t make it up from other sources.”
Sanders has already tried as Senator to reverse the 2014 Obama executive order allowing private sector pension theft.
Recall that Joe Biden was part of this behind-closed-doors deal to rob private sector pensions.