As workers and retirees from across the nation gathered on the Ohio Statehouse lawn today to speak out for pension protections for hundreds of thousands of retired American workers, Ohio House Democratic lawmakers spoke out in support of American retirees and urged the Ohio legislature to take up legislation, House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 8, that would urge members of congress to protect coal miner pensions.
“Ohio coal miners sweat, bled, worked and saved their whole lives to make ends meet in their retirement,” said Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), the lead sponsor of the HCR 8. “The greatest, most prosperous nation in the world shouldn’t be turning its back on people who sacrificed so much to make this country what it is. We should go above and beyond to protect the pensions of workers – they earned it.”
Cera’s resolution calls on Congress to pass the American Miners Pension Act, federal legislation that would safeguard pensions for more than 100,000 coal miners and their families with unused funds from the Abandoned Mine Land program and low-interest U.S. Treasury loans that would be repaid over 30 years.
“It is fundamentally unfair and anti-American to force retirees and their families into poverty after they’ve helped build and power this country,” said Assistant House Democratic Whip Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati). “We need leadership in the state legislature that is willing to step up and do the right thing. We need to tell Congress we can’t pull the rug out from under people who have worked and saved their whole lives to earn retirement security.”
The congressional House and Senate Joint Select Committee on Pensions will meet Friday at the Ohio Statehouse for a field hearing on pension protection. The state lawmakers hope the state legislature can help the conversation at the federal level by passing HCR 8 in the coming weeks as the Republican-controlled Ohio House is expected to reconvene to consider payday lending reform legislation.
In addition to the Miners Protection Act, the lawmakers support U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s Butch Lewis Act, a broader push to keep America’s pension promise to workers in other fields outside of coal mining.