KANSAS CITY, MO Retired union workers facing large pension cuts gathered to voice their anger at those cuts Tuesday.
Representative Emanuel Cleaver conducted the town hall meeting.
According to Cleaver, more than 270,000 people from across several states, including Missouri, who have vested millions of dollars into their pension funds, have been told their benefits from the Central States Pension Fund would be drastically cut, some as much as by 60 percent.
They’re people like Jack and Sally Ruffin. The couple retired after more than 30 years each working for a trucking company.
For decades, the Ruffins belonged to the Teamsters, a union that paid into a multicompany pension plan through Central States.
A few months ago, Sally Ruffin received a letter telling her the monthly checks would be much smaller, cut from $3,300 to $1,650.
The cuts to her husband’s pension go even deeper.
“I’m getting a 50 percent cut. My husband’s getting almost a 60 percent cut,” Sally Ruffin shared.
The couple lives modestly in Weatherby Lake, MO. Now, they’re not sure how they’re going to pay the bills like their mortgage payment.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen,” Sally Ruffin said.
Cleaver has joined the fight against the cuts.
“We’re not talking about some welfare situation. These people have worked hard all of their lives to earn this money,” Cleaver said.
The cuts are the result of the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act, which allows the pension company to ask the U.S. Treasury for permission to cut payments to remain solvent.
“If they do this with us, there’s other pension companies just watching us to be cut,” Jack Ruffin commented.
The Ruffins are taking this hard. In fact, an anxiety attacked landed Sally Ruffin in the emergency room after she learned that money she’d spent a lifetime earning would soon be gone.
“We just want to be solvent, just to enjoy our life and not have to worry all the time,” she said.
Pensioners will have the chance to vote on whether to accept the proposed cuts. The Treasury Department says if someone doesn’t vote, or can’t vote, the ballot counts in favor of the cuts. Ballots should be mailed out to all union members, past and present.
FOX10 News | WALA