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Biden Grants Teamsters Pension $36 Billion

National

President Joe Biden speaks on Dec. 8, 2022. | Image by Susan Walsh/AP

President Biden announced a $36 billion bailout earlier this month for the Central States Pension Fund, which manages pension benefits and funds for Teamsters Union members and retirees.

The White House claimed that without the bailout, which will allocate on average more than $100,000 of taxpayer money each to the benefit of 350,000 union workers and retirees, the Teamsters would have seen benefit cuts estimated at 60% over the next few years.

The decision was made to “shore up one of the nation’s biggest multi-employer plans and deliver help to union allies after a contentious rail deal that frayed ties with organized labor,” according to Bloomberg.

A White House statement called it “the largest ever award of federal financial support for worker and retiree pension security.”

The bailout is also the largest allocation from Biden’s COVID-19 pandemic relief law, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. Without the bailout, the insurance program was expected to become insolvent by 2026.

With the historically massive infusion of taxpayer-funded relief money, the Teamsters insurance program is expected to be financially sound through 2051, even as the U.S. national debt ticks up beyond $31 trillion.

“This is an issue of fairness, of this country keeping its word to hardworking, honest people who did everything they were supposed to do in life,” said Teamsters general president Sean O’Brien.

“Our members chose to forgo raises and other benefits for a prosperous retirement, and they deserve to enjoy the security and stability that all of them worked so hard to earn,” he stated.

The decision will help a total of roughly 350,000 workers and retirees in most states, just over 0.1% of the U.S. population, including in three crucial swing states — Michigan (40,000), Ohio (40,000), and Wisconsin (22,000) — according to numbers provided by the White House. It is also expected to benefit 22,500 workers in Texas.

Republicans have criticized the pension bailout, arguing that it was unrelated to the pandemic and that it was a handout to the president’s union allies, according to Bloomberg.

“Before Thursday, the program had awarded aid to 36 troubled pension plans, but none of those had received more than about $1.2 billion. The teamsters are 35 times more special. Go figure,” wrote Beege Welborn on HotAir.com.

Biden faced criticism surrounding his recent handling of issues important to other union members. Thwarting a rail union strike, he signed a bill that made a railway strike illegal.

He countered the criticism by saying it was a tough decision. Perhaps most unpopular was the fact that the railway unions must wait to obtain more sick leave, a pivotal point in the labor negotiations Biden allegedly interfered in.

When Biden took office, he vowed to be the most pro-union president in U.S. history. Labor activists have been critical allies for the career politician and the Democratic Party for decades.

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