Posts tagged American Rescue Plan

    As Hollywood strike drags on, Biden’s relationship with unions becomes complicated

    September 6, 2023 // For example, in the 2020 election, labor unions contributed $27.5 million to Biden’s campaign while his opponent, former President Donald Trump, received less than $360,000, according to Open Secrets. The states with the largest concentration of union workers are hardline Democratic states, like Hawaii, New York, Washington, Oregon, New Jersey and California. In 2022, 10.1% of American wage and salary workers belonged to unions compared to 20.1%, in 1983, signifying a large drop in membership. But this hasn’t translated to a drop in popularity for unions, at least according to recent polls.

    Feds: Carpenters union gets $183M of stimulus to restore cut pensions

    August 18, 2023 // The retirement plan covering nearly 5,400 Southwest Ohio union carpenters got a nearly $183 million government bailout on Tuesday, according to an announcement by the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. The money comes from a program aimed at shoring up pension plans, created as part of the broader stimulus package enacted in 2021 in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. The money will benefit members of the Southwest Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters Pension Plan, which in 2019, slashed pension benefits for thousands of members by an average of 18% to remain solvent. PBGC’s approval enables the plan to restore benefits previously suspended and to make payments to retirees to cover prior benefit suspensions, the federally chartered corporation said in a statement. The funding will enable the plan to pay retirement benefits without reduction for many years into the future.

    In Michigan, a Modicum of Justice for a COVID-Exploiting Teachers’ Union

    March 21, 2023 // According to a January 2022 Freedom Foundation report, labor unions and related organizations procured some 223 loans totaling $36.1 million during the period between the passage of the CARES Act in March 2020, which created the PPP program, and the American Rescue Plan in March 2021, which modified it. Leading recipients included teachers’ unions, government employees’ unions, and AFL-CIO advocacy groups. As the Freedom Foundation asserted in its report: The ineligible loans diverted resources away from the purpose of the PPP, namely helping businesses keep employees on payroll. Further, given that union revenue derives primarily from dues deducted from members’ paychecks, direct support to unions was unnecessary; to the extent the PPP loans to businesses allowed union employees to keep working, it also allowed unions to continue collecting dues from their paychecks.

    Biden Shoveled $36 Billion In Taxpayer Funds To Bail Out Teamsters For Mismanaged Pensions

    March 5, 2023 // Lost in all of this has been one spectacular giveaway: $100,000 per beneficiary of the Central States Pension Fund (CSPF). The fund provides pension benefits to nearly 360,000 private-sector workers and retirees, mostly Teamsters Union members. U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, called the deal out in December, noting it was “the largest private pension bailout in American history” that benefited only “a tiny minority of workers.” He suggested it resulted from the insanity of “allowing those who mismanaged pensions to determine whether their funds qualify for taxpayer assistance with no safeguards.” The $36 billion comes almost two years after the passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. That “rescue” was the Biden administration’s Covid spending bonanza. Biden signed it into law in the spring of 2021, when the economy was already well into recovery. The housing market was booming. The stock market was on a steady upward climb. It was obvious that the “rescue” would cause inflation. It was obvious Democrats were taking advantage of an opportunity to give away public largesse. And did they ever. Lest we doubt the ongoing influence of the Teamsters in American politics, the recent $36 billion giveaway says it all. It says to the union bosses, who make up half of the CSPF board: “You can watch the pension fund’s health decline for decades. You can make unrealistic promises to employees. You can keep the plan below 75 percent funded. You can depend on a pyramid concept where imaginary new members keep coming in to pay for retired members. None of that matters now. The politicians you own will bail you out with the public’s money. In fact, you can take such largesse that union workers in other multi-employer plans get left with only crumbs. Write yourself a check. And, as a bonus, we won’t ask you to change anything.”

    Opinion: Imagine there’s no public employee unions

    February 21, 2023 // But try as President Joe Biden has, it just hasn’t been enough. Automation (including not only factory machinery but also the gig economy), trade, high-profile union corruption cases, failing pension funds, and a string of adverse court rulings are among the many factors rendering private sector unions irrelevant to workers in most modern fields. This has led the unions to desperate measures, such as organizing esoteric, low-income professions, including graduate student teachers and video game testers. Yet the story is quite different for unions in the public sector. The unionization rate of public employees remains robust, at more than 33% of all government workers nationwide. Local government workers are the most likely to be unionized, at a rate of nearly 39%, and public sector union members are concentrated in states that mandate collective bargaining. The states with higher rates of unionization seem to correlate with the nation's least functional state governments: California (54.5%), Illinois (48.7%), New York (66.7%), and New Jersey (59.3%) among them. As their private sector cousins starve, public employee unions are fat and happy — a strange development, given that there was no public sector collective bargaining at all 70 years ago, when unions were at their apex.

    PBGC Bailed Out Five More Union Pensions Last Week

    January 30, 2023 // Last week, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) announced five more failing union pension plans will receive taxpayer moneys to ensure the pensions maintain the ability to pay plan participants. In total, the PBGC will dole out $277.6 million in “special finance assistance,” covering 2,274 pension plan recipients—which averages to nearly $125,000 per participant, with some receiving nearly up to $158,000 from the PBGC.

    Biden mends bridges with unions after rail dispute

    December 12, 2022 // President Joe Biden has returned to the good graces of labor unions by announcing a $36 billion pension fund bailout that will prevent more than 350,000 truck drivers, warehouse workers, construction staff, and retirees from forfeiting their benefits. But Biden's intervention comes after he rankled the key Democratic constituency by urging Congress to enforce a tentative union dispute agreement between railroad companies and their employees in order to avoid a strike that would have crippled the economy before the holidays.

    Flanked by Union Allies, Biden Touts $36 Billion Pension Bailout

    December 9, 2022 // President Joe Biden announced a $36 billion bailout for the Central States Pension Fund, one of the nation’s biggest multi-employer plans, touting the help for union workers and retirees as he looks to mend ties with organized labor after a contentious rail deal.

    Union bosses rake it in, even as their ranks shrink

    November 15, 2022 // The new report, provocatively titled “Labor’s Fortress of Finance” by the pro-labor Radish Research, looks at the balance sheets of big unions since 2010, based on financial statements they must file with the Department of Labor. It finds that, over that period, unions have lost some 710,000 members, yet union membership revenues increased by one-third, to $18 billion — 85% of that from fees on members, which grew by a similar rate. By contrast, union spending increased by just 18% over that time. The money that unions expended representing workers, for instance, improved by just 13%. As a result, the surplus (the equivalent of profits at a business) that unions generated grew almost sixfold, to nearly $2.5 billion in 2021, from just $426 million in 2010. Collectively, their cash on hand more than doubled in 11 years to $11.3 billion, their investments soared nearly 150% to $17.4 billion, and their net assets rose 120%, to $31.6 billion.

    Biden’s Abuse of Power Causes CBO to Raise Cost Estimate of Private Pension Bailouts by $4.5 Billion

    October 18, 2022 // The Congressional Budget Office released a report on Sept. 30 that says President Joe Biden’s changes to the rules of a recent taxpayer bailout of select private union pension plans will add $4.5 billion in costs, bringing the taxpayers’ tab to $90.4 billion over the 2022-2032 period. And that’s likely just the tip of the iceberg. Ordinarily, $4.5 billion in additional spending as a result of administrative action would elicit scrutiny and challenges. After all, Congress—not the administration—has the powers of the purse, and the Biden administration’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation has directly altered the law passed by Congress.