PLEASANT HILL, Iowa - Thousands of Central Iowan union workers say their pension fund program is to blame for putting their financial futures in peril, and Sunday, Representative David Young (R-Van Meter) agreed.
These active and retired union workers began speaking out against their pension fund program, the Central States Pension Fund, in February, when the provider announced it expected to go bankrupt within 10 years. This announcement will result in workers losing up to 70 percent of their pension funds per month, beginning July 1.
“I worked 50 to 60 hours a week and that's what all of us had to do,” Bob Vignovich, a retired semi-truck driver, told Channel 13 in February. “It was good money but that's how you got what you got and then to see it go away like this, it's pretty depressing.”
Vignovich told Channel 13 the reduction plan would cut his monthly funds down from $1,150 a month to just under $500 a month - forcing him and his wife to move out of their home of 25 years and downsize to a townhome.
Vignovich and others from the Teamsters Local 238 are crying foul, claiming lack of oversight, corruption, and negligence have led the Central States Pension Fund to this mishap. Now, they want accountability, and Rep. Young backs their efforts.
"I don't care what political party you folks are in; it doesn't matter to me," Rep. Young told the crowd in a meeting Sunday. "I represent 700,000+ people in this Third Congressional District. And my job is to listen to each and every one of you. I take the job seriously."
Rep. Young called for more transparency within the federal government to help groups like this stay up-to-date on their pension programs and what's happening with them.
"For me, sunlight is the best disinfectant, right? Because we can see what's going on with your lives," he said. "We're dealing with your livelihood, yours, and your children's and grandchildren's as well."
Senator Chuck Grassley initially called for an investigation into the matter by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Leaders with Teamsters Local 238 told the crowd Sunday that investigation has begun, and will expand to include the U.S. Department of Justice going forward. This news garnered loud applause from these workers.