- Associated Press - Monday, November 23, 2015

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A proposed cut to a multistate pension fund could affect nearly 1,000 South Dakotans.

Cuts to the Central States Pension Fund could trim retirement payments by up to half for about 400,000 people nationwide, most of whom are current or former truckers, the Argus Leader reports (https://argusne.ws/1SemhUi ).

The fund covering Teamsters pays out $2 billion more annually than it takes in. Officials are taking steps under the 2014 Multiemployer Pension Reform Act to make it sustainable. The U.S. Treasury Department must approve.

Cuts could take effect as soon as July if the proposal is approved. Members will vote on it, but the Treasury Department can override the vote or ask for changes to the proposal.

There are 1,317 members in South Dakota who receive $9.4 million in benefits annually. The proposal would reduce benefits for 988 of those members. Younger members and those with 20 or fewer years of membership will lose more than retirees and older pensioners.

Sioux Falls retiree Cal Plienis, who worked for UPS for 25 years, said his income would be cut in half under the proposal. The 74-year-old paid into the Central States Pension Fund for retirement, and took a part-time job two years ago over fears about his pension.

Plienis said he isn’t “going to starve,” but he worries what the cut will mean for his lifestyle and what he’ll be able to afford.

In a letter last month, Teamsters President James P. Hoffa urged Central States Pension Fund to avoid “draconian” cuts.

“Before moving forward with a proposal to implement benefit cuts, I urge you to please work with us to find fair and responsible alternatives,” Hoffa wrote.

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Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com


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