About 22,000 union workers and retirees in Wisconsin are expected to benefit from a $36 billion federal award being announced today for the Central States Pension Fund. 

This funding from the American Rescue Plan Act’s Special Financial Assistance Program represents the largest award of federal financial support in history for worker and retiree pensions, according to a fact sheet from the White House. 

In a call with reporters yesterday, federal officials said the funding will protect more than 350,000 union workers and retirees from having their pension benefits cut by about 60 percent in the coming years. With the additional funding, the Central States Pension Fund says it will be paying full benefits to these beneficiaries through 2051.

Workers included in the Central States Pension Fund include truck drivers, warehouse workers, construction workers and food processors. Those impacted by the new funding are located in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Texas, Tennessee and Florida, the fact sheet shows. 

“One cannot underestimate the significance of this assistance for the basic economic security and dignity for union workers in their retirement years,” American Rescue Plan Coordinator and Senior Advisor to the President Gene Sperling said on yesterday’s call. 

He said the expected pension benefits cuts would have resulted in an average decline of $10,000 per year. Sperling added the new funding will help affected workers and retirees “be a support to their children and grandchildren instead of a burden on them.”

–By Alex Moe

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