Senate Democrats

Democrats Unveil Principles for Pension Reform

Democratic Senators say American workers deserve secure pensions and real retirement security

Washington, DC. Today, Senators Edward M. Kennedy and Max Baucus convened a forum to discuss the need for pension reform and strengthening the retirement security for all Americans. Business leaders from leading corporations, labor union from various sectors, retirees, and experts rolled up their sleeves and worked together to explore common sense pension solutions. Senators Reid, Baucus, Dorgan, Stabenow, Obama, Rockefeller, Kerry, Cantwell, Mikulski, and Harkin also participated in the forum, underscoring how committed Democrats are to making retirement security a priority and enacting extensive pension reform.

“Since President Bush kicked off his campaign to privatize Social Security, 120,000 workers and retirees at United Airlines stand to lose their pension, 25,000 workers at GM have learned they will lose their jobs. In fact, President Bush is trying to do to pensions exactly what he wants to do your social security – eliminate guarantees, cut promised benefits, and leave you to try your luck on Wall Street,” Senator Kennedy said following the forum.

“It is unconscionable that workers should spend thirty or forty years working for an employer, then lose retirement benefits they earned for years of dedication and service. Our goal is retirement security for working Americans, and the more we can learn about this problem, the sooner we will be able to take the necessary steps to fix it. The input we received today during today’s meeting is invaluable in developing solutions. I believe we can find answers that are good for participants and good for responsible employers,” said Senator Baucus.

Senator Kennedy and Senator Baucus unveiled the following principles, which Democrats agree should be the basis for ensuring that all American have secure pensions and real retirement security. The principles are:

  • All Americans should have a secure pension.
  • Protecting workers’ pensions by holding companies to their promises
  • Requiring transparency on the financial health of pensions
  • Providing targeted solutions to unique airline and steel industry pressures
  • Strengthening pensions for construction, retail, trucking, hotel and other workers
  • Protecting older workers when companies change their pensions
  • Rewarding and encouraging companies that provide good pensions to their employees

As the debate over pensions continue, Democrats will be guided by these principles.