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Higgins Announces Federal Action Protecting Hundreds of WNY Workers from Pension Cuts

Provision in American Rescue Plan Will Protect Over $46M in Local Retirement Earnings

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced hundreds of Western New Yorkers will benefit from action by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, provided through the American Rescue Plan, to protect the retirement savings of Central States Pension Fund workers and Retirees. 

Today’s action will prevent devastating pension cuts to 295 local workers, from 8 Western New York companies, in Congressman Higgins’ District. In total, 1,200 New Yorkers and more than 350,000 workers nationwide in the Central States Pension Fund will benefit. These workers and retirees were facing a nearly 60 percent slash in retirement earnings. For the nearly 300 workers in NY-26, this secures over $46.7 million in pension funding that was previously at risk.

Higgins said, “These are people who worked hard, paid into retirement, and were left with the reality of losing it all.  This changes everything.  It provides the relief, stability, and security they earned and deserve.”

Higgins, who serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, has been an advocate in committee (video) and on the House floor (video), for workers who spent years paying into pension programs only to lose their savings through underfunded or insolvent multiemployer pension plans.

The American Rescue Plan included the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Relief Act, allowing struggling multiemployer plans to apply to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation for assistance. The provision allows for the stabilization of troubled plans and the protection of retirement savings of over 1 million workers and retirees. Prior to the American Rescue Plan over 200 multiemployer plans were on a track to insolvency. 

In November, Higgins announced approval of $963.4 million in Special Financial Assistance through the U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation covering more than 33,000 New York Teamsters.