Millions of UFCW members and retirees have earned the right to real retirement through years of dedicated service to some of the globe’s largest and most successful companies – and now they’re standing up to protect their retirements.
We all watched as the global financial crisis hit retirement savings for workers worldwide hard. It put many pension and retirement plans in precarious positions. Since then, the UFCW has been seeking new ways to protect the pensions of all American workers. That’s why the UFCW has backed the Partnership for Multiemployer Retirement Security’s plan called Solutions, Not Bailouts, and we carried that message to Capitol Hill yesterday morning at a hearing convened by the Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee chaired by Rep. David Roe (R-Tenn.) with ranking member Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.). This bipartisan attention to pension reform is an important way to secure the private retirement system.
In addition to many technical fixes that cost nothing, but add real protection to workers retirements, Solutions, Not Bailouts begins to explore more innovative solutions to some pension problems—including the one that the UFCW pioneered with the Kroger Company in 2011. Working together with one of the largest union employers in the country, we merged four troubled pension plans into one solid, fully-funded, plan with almost 200,000 participants.
As part of this transaction, Kroger contributed around a billion dollars to secure UFCW members’ retirements and pledged to secure the plan for at least the next ten years. The transaction made sense for Kroger because of the inexpensive lending rates available to company today. By making that inexpensive lending available to other companies that aren’t necessarily as large and creditworthy as Kroger, we can make millions more retirements secure and safe.
UFCW members know having each other’s back is a fundamental part of what we do in a labor union. We look out for our current members, our former members and our future members. With our allies in Congress, like the members of the Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee, we’re working to find real solutions to retirements that have been undercut by irresponsible, and sometimes criminal, behavior on Wall Street. Real working Americans depend on these retirement funds and their investments must be protected. Together, we’re working every day to make sure the voice of working America is heard over the din of big business lobbyists on Capitol Hill.