Senator Tina Smith Meets With Retirees About Pension Problem

Amy Adamle
January 06, 2018 10:43 PM

U.S. Senator Tina Smith hit the ground running in the Northland and an important item on her agenda was meeting with retired Teamsters to find a solution to an impending pension problem.


"Some of us for 40 years have made weekly contributions into the Central States Pension Fund," Sherman Liimatainen, the Director of the Minnesota Duluth Committee to Protect Pensions, said.  "they depended on it, we depended on it as our living when we chose to retire after years of service."

The issue they're facing could be devastating.

"They have asked us to take a 60% cut on our pensions," Liimatainen said. 

Over $1 billion of pensions for thousands of Minnesotans in the Central States Pension Fund are at risk for being lost.

"These retirees represent about 21,000 teamsters who have paid into a pension their entire working careers and now they find themselves being told that that pension that they counted on, might not be there," Smith said. 

The National United Committee to Protect Pensions is proposing a bill that would help save the pensions and Smith plans on backing it.

"Over the next couple of weeks there's going to be a big debate over how to resolve the latest federal budget impasse and I wanted to hear about these issues, because I want to make sure that they get brought forward into that budget discussion that will be happening," Smith said. 

She said it's not about numbers, but about how real people will be affected by this.

"There was a woman who retired to take care of her husband with Parkinson's Disease and she's now faced with trying to figure out if she has to go back to work after she's retired just to make sure as she said that she literally isn't living under a bridge," Smith said.  "This is about real peoples' lives and I'm going to take that back to Washington."

Smith continued her tour by visiting the Iron Range.  After leaving Duluth she stopped in Eveleth and Mountain Iron and she said she'll head to Washington D.C. on Sunday, taking what she's learned from Northlanders with her.


Amy Adamle

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