I am calling on Congress to reach a fair and reasonable solution to the crisis confronting MEPPs. Congress recently formed a Joint Select Committee to solve the Multi-Employer Pension Crisis with a November 30 deadline to issue its report.

Congresswomen Debbie Dingell was recently appointed to this committee. I am writing to urge her to work with her colleagues to hammer out a solution that will protect my pension.

Blue collar workers need to have their pensions protected. I was a Teamster for over 30 years working in the trucking industry and a lot of hardworking Americans like me face the prospect of having our earned retirement benefits reduced to zero. It’;s time this issue gets the attention it deserves.

An estimated 100 MEPPs could fail in the next 10 years if Congress fails to enact reforms to these funds. The multiemployer pension system covers 10 million Americans.

As MEPPs stare at a situation that cannot be maintained, the supposed federal backstop, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has its own set of problems. When a MEPP can no longer do its job, the problem falls to the PBGC. Being forced to PBGC equates to cuts in benefits of between 50 and 70 percent. Right now, PBGC is promising about $100 billion in benefits to about one million retirees, but there is only $40 billion in assets. PBGC could be insolvent as early as 2026.

I urge Congresswoman Dingell to find a solution this year to save our pensions.

Russell L. Barker