Ohio Senator Brown Tours Bimbo Bakery, Meets With Union Workers

ZANESVILLE, OH – 9/27/21 U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) toured a Bimbo Bakeries manufacturing plant and joined leaders and employees to discuss pension relief he helped secure for Ohio workers, retirees, and small businesses in the American Rescue Plan. Employees at the facility are represented by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers’ (BCTGM) International Union Local 57, and will benefit from Brown’s pension fix. For years, Brown led efforts to secure these pensions for Ohioans, touring the state pre-pandemic to stand with Ohio retirees and workers, and co-chairing a Congressional Committee on the pension crisis in 2018. Those efforts led to pension provisions based on Brown’s Butch Lewis Act being included in the American Rescue Plan.

“After years of work by workers and retirees and business owners in Ohio and around the country, in the American Rescue Plan we finally saved the pensions that Bimbo’s workers earned over a lifetime of work, with no cuts. So many times, we wondered if we could get this done,” said Brown. “But Ohio retirees and workers and business leaders never gave up.”

Brown was joined at the event by BCTGM Local 57 Principal Officer Mark Lee Scot Donaldson,Sr. Human Relations Manager, Bimbo Bakeries and Bimbo Bakery employee Kate Waugaman.

“The American Rescue Plan is literally a lifesaver for our retirees and active members. The pension solvency provision in the American Rescue Plan will allow our retirees and their families to breathe a sigh of relief and rest more comfortably knowing their pensions are secure and that they will receive the full benefit that they earned,” said BCTGM Local 57 Principal Mark Lee.

“For many years, the promise of a secure retirement was in jeopardy for millions across the nation as many Multi-Employer Plans headed toward insolvency. Bimbo participates in more than 30 Multi-Employer Pension Plans with 12,000+ active associates whose retirement depends on them. In addition, thousands of retirees from our company rely on their pensions from these plans to live today. Senator Brown, his team and his colleagues, shared a similar passion and thanks to extensive efforts over many years, a solution was reached this year to protect the pension benefits of millions – including our own associates,” Said Scot Donaldson,Sr. Human Relations Manager, Bimbo Bakeries.

“I’m a futuristic person – I can’t tell what my future’s going to be — especially with this last year with the pandemic — but I like having that security of knowing my pension will be there. I know a few people who are older and things didn’t go their way and they didn’t get the money that they deserved and it made me think I need to know more about my pension and know I need more security,” said Kate Waugaman, Bimbo Bakery Employee, BCTGM Local 57.

The Butch Lewis Act, named in memory of Butch Lewis, the former retired head of Teamsters Local 100 in southwest Ohio, secured retirement benefits for workers and retirees in endangered pension plans for 30 years—with no cuts to benefits.

Brown’s Butch-Lewis Act helped to:

  •  Keep multiemployer pension plans solvent and well-funded for 30 years—with no cuts to earned benefits of participants and beneficiaries;
  • Restore full benefits for retirees in plans that previously had to take cuts and increase the maximum Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) insurance amount; and
  • Require each plan that receives assistance file regular status reports with the PBGC and Congressional Committees, in order to prevent recurrence and to protect retirees’ benefits.