Stabenow: Pension Reform Needed Now to Protect Workers, Jobs
Any pension reform bill passed by Congress must ensure that workers who have paid into a fund their whole working life can retire with confidence and find their pensions waiting for them, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) said today. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Stabenow urged quick action on pension reform but also urged Frist to improve the legislation to protect workers, pensions and jobs.
"Our middle class way of life is in danger - in Michigan and across America," Stabenow said today. "The bankruptcy of Delphi Corp. - and the threat that this bankruptcy poses to the pensions of Delphi workers - is a wake-up call that our economy, workers, families and our very way of life are threatened.
"Right now in America, there are more than 44 million individuals paying into or receiving benefits from more than 31,000 pension plans," said Stabenow. "In my home state of Michigan, we have more than 1.3 million workers and retirees - that's one is six adults - who are counting on a guaranteed pension to make ends meet.
"If someone has worked hard his or her whole life and has paid into a pension fund - that fact that they might not receive their pension is completely unacceptable."
Stabenow told Frist that legislation now under consideration in the Senate - as it is currently written - would effectively penalize some manufacturers that would otherwise be able to keep paying into their pension funds. The net effect would jeopardize jobs and existing pension plans.
"American manufacturers and American workers already face great challenges from unfair foreign trade and the skyrocketing cost of health care coverage," Stabenow said. "Common sense should tell us that we need legislation that helps manufacturers protect workers, their jobs and their pensions - not legislation that puts jobs at risk.
"I will continue to fight for that kind of common-sense legislation."