White House ceremony highlights Butch Lewis Act

Flanked by union members whose pensions will be preserved, not destroyed, President Joe Biden touted The Butch Lewis Act that will keep pensions flowing to retirees and their families through 2051.

Part of Biden’s American Rescue Act, the Butch Lewis Act provides long-term aid to some 200 financially troubled multi-employer pension plans that never recovered from the 2008 Recession.

Between 2 million and 3 million workers were at risk, including members of the building trades.

A multi-employer pension plan is a pension plan created through an agreement between two or more employers and a union or unions. The employers are usually in the same or related industries, most commonly within industries such as transportation, construction or hospitality. Multi-employer plans cover a total of 11.2 million workers and retirees.

Now, thanks to the American Rescue Plan, benefits are guaranteed through 2051.

Without aid, some multi-employer pension plans would have become insolvent by the end of 2025, leaving its beneficiaries to turn to the federal Pension Benefits Guaranty Corp., whose multi-employer plan fund would have run out of money by 2026.

The Butch Lewis Act validated another 2020 Biden campaign promise to union members.

“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 President Sean O’Brien, who led Teamsters to the ceremony.

The Teamsters and other unions lobbied lawmakers and worked with prime sponsor Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) to craft the Butch Lewis Act.

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