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Professor Norman Stein Comments on Imploding Teamsters’ Pension Benefits in Kansas City Star

Professor Norman Stein

March 24, 2016

An $11 billion shortfall in obligations owed to 400,000 Teamster pensioners should at least in part be borne by the federal government, Professor Norman Stein said in an article published in the Kansas City Star.

With retired Teamsters bracing for 50 percent cuts in their monthly pension checks, the March 19 article explored numerous broken promises that contributed to the shortfall that exists at the Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund.

The federal government’s Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp, intended to step in if a multiemployer fund such as Central States faced a shortfall, would collapse under the weight of the guarantees it faces from several troubled plans, the article noted.

“Who should bear responsibility for that?” Stein asked. “Arguably, those who set up the program.  There’s some public responsibility.”

The article also identifies deregulation and mob influence as contributing factors to the woes of Central States and other multiemployer pension funds.

Stein, an authority on pension and employee benefit and tax law, noted that the impact of pension fund shortfalls could be dramatic for local and state economies.