Members of the U.S. Congress left Capitol Hill and held a special meeting in Columbus on the national pension crisis. Pension plans for more than one million union workers and retirees are in danger of collapse if something isn’t done soon. More than 60,000 Ohio workers could be impacted.
Union members from around the country traveled to Columbus, making their plea to Congress. They represent a range of sectors and professions, from coal miners and Teamsters to candymakers. The union members say they spent their lives working toward earning their pension, but those funds are drying up.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, said it was important to connect union workers with lawmakers. Brown is co-chairing the congressional Joint Select Committee with Ohio's other Senator Rob Portman.
“This whole industrial Midwest has been hit because of Wall Street malfeasance and other economic factors that have caused these pensions to almost collapse, and we have an obligation to fix this,” he said.
Brown’s proposal, the Butch Lewis Act, would offer low-interest, 30-year loans. But opponents call that a taxpayer-funded bailout.
The meeting came a day after thousands of union workers and retirees from across the country rallied at the Ohio Statehouse calling on Congress to pass a plan to save their pensions.