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Biden announces $36 billion in pension fund relief

U.S. President Joe Biden announced $36 billion in pension fund relief on Thursday. Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/UPI
U.S. President Joe Biden announced $36 billion in pension fund relief on Thursday. Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 8 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Thursday announced $36 billion in financial relief for the Central States Pension Fund, which will prevent cuts in benefits for 350,000 union workers and retirees.

The Central States Pension Fund reported in August that it had $7.4 billion in assets and had applied for $35.1 billion in relief. The White House estimated that retirees would have faced a roughly 60% reduction in benefits without financial relief, according to The Hill.

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"Imagine what that does to a family," Biden said at a news conference on Thursday, referring to the possible pension cut. "Knowing when it's time to retire that pension will be there is so important."

The funding will be able to protect Teamsters employees through at least 2051.

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"When the poor have a ladder up and the middle class have a way up, the wealthy do very well. Everybody benefits." Biden said. "A job is about a lot more than your paycheck. It's about your dignity."

The announcement represents a major show of support from Biden for unions. Last week Biden had risked alienating unions when he signed legislation that would avert a national railroad strike in the middle of the critical holiday season. However, the measure did not include improved sick pay measures some union workers had wanted.

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Biden touted the nearly 25% wage increase rail workers will receive with the contract and also acknowledged the lack of sick leave provisions that led to it being rejected by four unions.

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"I know this bill doesn't have paid sick leave, that these rail workers and frankly every American worker deserves," Biden said. "But that fight isn't over. I didn't commit that we would stop just because we couldn't get it in this bill. I've supported paid sick leave for a long time. I will continue that fight until we succeed."

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