The closer Doug Kamerer got to retirement, the more he feared that he’d never be able to afford it.
Kamerer steadily built up a pension during 35 years as a die setter at Etched Metal Co. in Solon, Ohio, where he and his co-workers often accepted lower raises in return for contributions their company made to a multiemployer retirement fund.
But that fund began failing years ago, and if it crashed, Kamerer knew he and his wife, Toni, would end up spending their senior years just trying to scrape by.
All of those worries evaporated Thursday when President Joe Biden signed a historic stimulus package that will not only lift America out of the COVID-19 recession but help secure the nation’s future.
Biden and congressional Democrats vowed to make working people their top priority, and they delivered on that promise with legislation that addresses the pain and uncertainty the pandemic inflicted on the entire nation.
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan delivers one of the boldest, most comprehensive investments in working people since the New Deal of the 1930s, and the United Steelworkers (USW) worked alongside other labor unions to ensure Congress passed it.
And just as the New Deal both stabilized a country in crisis and fostered prosperity, the stimulus bill will strengthen America for years to come.
The package extends $300-a-week unemployment benefits and health insurance to workers laid off during the COVID-19 recession, provides $1,400 stimulus checks and tax credits to millions of struggling families, earmarks funds to help schools operate safely and allocates billions for controlling the coronavirus.
But it isn’t enough to confront current hardships. It’s also essential to head off impending threats to the nation’s progress.
That’s why the stimulus includes $86 billion to stabilize about 130 multiemployer pension funds and secure the retirements of 1.3 million workers and retirees, including Kamerer, a member of USW Local 1-243 who’s enrolled in a plan that could go broke in a decade.
“This is huge,” Kamerer, who hopes to retire in four years, said of the pension support. “It’s such good news. What a weight off my mind.”More ...