CHARLESTON, W.Va. — United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts is coming out against the proposal by Republicans in the U.S. Senate addressing the multi-employer pension plan.

The proposal, led by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), was released earlier this month that would affect all multiemployer pension plans.

“This proposal provides everything those who advocate against working families have ever wished for. It penalizes workers for joining unions, it penalizes retirees for sticking with those unions, it penalizes employers for recognizing unions and it penalizes unions themselves for successfully representing their members,” Roberts said in a release.

Cecil Roberts

“This is not a starting point for negotiations. It is a multi-billion dollar tax increase on working families – especially retired Americans living on fixed incomes – their employers and their unions. Retirees covered by the UMWA Pension Fund, for example, would be subject to a 10 percent tax on pensions that average a little under $600 per month.”

According to a release by the senators on the plan given by Pensions & Investments, it will “make significant changes to the management and operation of all multiemployer pension plans so that, moving forward, all plans will be better funded and more transparent to participants, sponsoring employers and government regulators.”

Roberts further said in a statement, that the plan to help the UMWA miners the most is the one proposed by Senator Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.).

“This proposal does not begin to address the immediate crisis UMWA retirees and their families are confronting. Fortunately, the Bipartisan American Miners Act –by Senator Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.), and a dozen bipartisan Senate cosponsors – does address that crisis, using an existing source of funding that requires no new bureaucracy and most importantly, no new taxes on working families.

“Retired miners, their families and widows do not have the luxury of waiting to see if Congress can eventually come up with a comprehensive solution to the multi-employer pension crisis that treats retirees fairly. 1,200 stand to lose their health care at the end of this year, 12,000 more will lose health care within a few short months, and more than 82,000 will likely see drastic cuts to their pensions a few months after that.”