Schumer, King support bill to restore slashed pensions

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SEAFORD -

Two Long Island congressmen are pushing a plan to restore pensions for some local union workers who lost them.

"You work 45 years, you work all your life, and all of a sudden they tell you there's no money -- and you don't understand how that could be," says Robert Barna, a Teamster who tells News 12 his pension was recently cut by 33 percent. "I never thought I would live to see where I would be living paycheck to paycheck."

There are two reasons for the cut: the 2008 economic downturn and a decline in active Teamsters Union drivers paying into the pension system.

Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat, and Rep. Peter King, a Republican, say they both back a bill that would allow the Treasury Department to issue bonds that can be used to fund the collapsing pensions. The bill is estimated to boost the pensions of 4,500 Long Island families.

"These are middle-income people who broke their backs all their lives, and now they're in the retirement years," King says. "And they're losing their pensions."

He says the pension bill has a good chance of passing if it becomes part of a larger budget bill.

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