Over 33,000 Pennsylvania Workers and Retirees’ Pensions Saved by Biden’s American Rescue Plan

President Joe Biden greeting union workers after speaking at the Philadelphia Labor Day rally on Sept. 4, 2023. (Photo: Sean Kitchen)

By Sean Kitchen

September 25, 2023

Earlier this month, 108 members of the Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 94 in Camp Hill had their pensions protected thanks to Biden’s American Rescue Plan. That brings the total number of Pennsylvanians who’ve had their pensions saved by legislation to 33,138.

President Joe Biden will walk the picket line in Michigan with striking United Auto Workers on Tuesday and continue his campaign as one of the most pro-labor union presidents in US history. It’ll be the first time in American history that a sitting president joined a picket line.

One of Biden’s signature pieces of legislation that benefited union members was the American Rescue Plan. Tucked into the bill was the Butch Lewis Act, which helped save the pensions of two to three million workers and retirees.

The provision funds the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), a federal agency tasked with protecting the pensions of more than 33 million workers and retirees. It was set to go insolvent by 2026 but is now able to provide an estimated $74-$91 billion in funding.

Earlier this month, US Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) announced that 108 members from the Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 94, who are based in Camp Hill, had their pensions saved thanks to the American Rescue Plan. Thanks to this legislation, 33,138 Pennsylvania workers and retirees will see their pensions fully funded..

“The promise of a pension is a promise we’re supposed to keep,” Casey said in a statement. “For four years, these construction workers and retirees have had to get by on less pension benefits than they deserved. With this announcement, 108 Pennsylvania workers can rest easy knowing that the benefits they’re owed will be waiting for them when they retire.”

While speaking to hundreds of union members in Philadelphia on Labor Day, Biden praised the passage of the Butch Lewis Act, calling it one of the most significant achievements for union workers and retirees in over 50 years.

“We did something else that mattered a whole lot to folks in this parking lot. We passed the Butch Lewis Act, which protected pensions for millions of union workers” Biden said.

“Two to three million union workers, through no fault of their own, after paying their pension for years, face painful cuts and benefits,” the president said. “They were counting on retirement, they’re going to [be] left high and dry. All [the] companies they worked for didn’t hold up their end of the bargain and finance their end of the bargain. We just couldn’t let that happen.”

 

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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