By Karen Friedman
With the enactment of the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act, retirees across the country are “dancing in the streets” to celebrate the wonderful news that their pensions have been saved. Press the link to join the celebration and show-off your latest dance moves.
We thought you’d like to see some of the celebratory e-mails we’ve received from wonderful activists – and our Butch Lewis dance partners.
“We did it! We did it! We did it! Thank God almighty! We held the line, spending endless hours and resources telling our members of Congress not to cut our pensions. I thank my whole retiree family, the National United Committee to Protect Pensions (NUCPP), the Pension Rights Center, the members of Congress who got this done and voted for this bill. We couldn’t have done it without everybody working together.”- Rita Lewis, Westchester, Ohio, who became a leader of the grassroots movement after her husband Butch, an acclaimed activist who inspired the new law, died while fighting against retiree benefit cuts
“Our loyal supporters stood with us as we stood by them. We knew we had to work with all stakeholders to achieve a resolution. We became a stronger team, a loyal team amongst ourselves. We came, we fought, we never gave up, we won. We thank so many people, including all of you at PRC.”- Mike Walden, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, President of the NUCPP and a member of the Central States Pension Fund.
“We are thankful to all those who guided us, educated us and stuck with us all the way to justice. We will remain grateful from here to the final coda.” – Steve Nathan, retired pianist, Nashville, Tennessee, and member of the American Federation of Musicians & Employers Pension Fund (AFM-EPF), which announced it would withdraw its application to cut the pensions of its workers and retirees because of the Butch Lewis Act.
“We are beyond excited. Still can’t believe it. We felt like a ton of bricks was removed from our shoulders. We cried happy tears. For the first time in years, I don’t have to worry about every little thing I buy. We don’t have to worry about our kids taking care of us and we can help them if necessary. God bless all of you who got this passed for us” – Laura Caporino, Hampstead, NC, wife of Anthony, whose pension was cut by 70% under the Local 707 Pension Fund.
“This legislation never would have happened without the Pension Rights Center. It should be an amazing feeling to have touched the lives of so many in such a positive way.” – Cathy Green, Lake Stevens, Washington, member of the Office and Professional Employees International Union Western States Pension Plan, whose plan cut her pension, and those of other workers and retirees, by 30 percent.
“We had the fight, the determination and the leadership to see this through. I will always be forever grateful for the great people from the Pension Rights Center, the National United Committee to Protect Pensions and the powerful pension committees from across this nation with their ‘Never give up” attitude’. We could not wait for someone else do it. Our victory has now been won and lifelong friendships made.”- Cindy McDaniel, Appleton City, Missouri, activist spouse of Ted McDaniel, a member of the Central States Pension Fund.
“I would like to thank PRC for all your hard work to fix our pension. You guys did a great job getting the pensions back for me and the other retirees. It was a great relief to finally see that my pension will be restored” -Douglas Rumsey, Port Jervis, New York, member of the Road Carriers Local 707 Pension Fund.
“I was up all night watching the Senate vote on the American Rescue Plan on C-SPAN and I actually cried when it finally passed with the Butch Lewis Act intact. This was overwhelming and we have been hoping would happen for so long.” -Pat Overstreet, Hinckley, Ohio, spouse of Walt Overstreet, a member of Iron Workers Local 17 Pension Fund, whose pension was cut under MPRA by more than 50%.
“First, on a personal note, there is no way to fully express our gratitude for the work you and everyone at PRC has done on our behalf. Without this relief, thousands of retirees through no fault of their own would have seen devasting and unsustainable cuts to their pensions. This will absolutely allow those who have toiled their entire lives to live out their retirement with dignity.” -Dennis Dreith, woodwind instrumentalist, composer, orchestrator and conductor, Woodland Hills, California, member of the American Federation of Musicians & Employers Pension Fund (AFM-EPF).
“I’m still pinching myself. I feel like our grassroots movement will go down in the history books.”- Ken Stribling, Vice President of the NUCPP and co-leader of the Wisconsin-Milwaukee-Southeast Committee to Protect Pensions.
We thank everyone who helped make this win possible. Working with all these terrific activists has been a wonderful experience for all of us at PRC. We are so happy that their pensions have been saved and restored. We look forward to continuing these friendships and working with all of you in the months and years to come.