In his briefing call Tuesday, Rep. Tom Reed made a point to discuss the Sept. 6 deadline for New York Teamsters to vote on their Pension Plan Proposal.

The proposal seeks to reduce the benefits of 35,000 union members. A 29 percent reduction in monthly pension benefits for retirees and an 18 percent reduction for current workers will begin in October if the proposal is passed.

This statement was simultaneously released on Reed’s Facebook page:

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“It is not fair to hardworking retired Teamsters that their benefits could be cut. There are thousands of retirees who paid into that fund believing their investments would be there for their retirement. It is critically important Teamsters know they must cast an actual vote, as an absent vote will be counted as being in support of the cuts in retirement benefits. Therefore, I encourage all NYS Teamsters to vote by Wednesday’s deadline to ensure their voice is heard!”

Reed’s said his primary concern was that absent votes will be counted as a “yes” in support of the reduction of benefits, and he encouraged members to cast their votes immediately by express mail, phone or online.

The congressman also said members had reached out to his office and to voice  their concerns at Town Hall meetings over the past year and a half. Reed recalled that one  retiree in particular, a 75-year-old facing medical costs associated with diabetes, said that he would be unable to survive if his pension were cut by nearly 30 percent. Reed said retirees especially deserve the benefits they were “promised and earned through years of service."

The rejection of the proposal would give trustees the opportunity to mitigate the impact for retirees and create a solution that would better share the reduction between present and past employees, Reed said. He added that he hoped that failure to pass this proposal would spur an investigation of the responsible parties for this discrepancy in funds and hold them accountable by bearing the brunt of the cuts. 

“Bottom line is, I hear the voice of those retirees loud and clear,” said Reed.