October 29, 2019

Manchin Introduces SLAP Act To Protect American Workers' Pension Plans

Washington, D.C. – On the heels of another major corporate bankruptcy, U.S Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today introduced the Stop Looting American Pensions (SLAP) Act, legislation that would protect American worker’s pensions. For far too long, American greed has influenced Wall Street firms that have taken over companies, cut wages and paid executives large bonuses while walking away from their pension obligations for their employees and retirees.  

“Every paycheck, 10.6 million hardworking men and women take home less pay and instead invest in their pension plan with their employer. Workers expect the wages they have contributed to be there when they retire, as they were promised. But under current law, worker’s pensions aren’t protected, and executive and investment firms exploit bankruptcy law for their own benefit. That it isn’t right,” said Senator Manchin.

“Last night Murray Energy, the largest coal company in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy. If Murray Energy refuses to pay their pension obligations, the UMWA pension fund will be insolvent by this time next year. The SLAP Act ensures all workers, union and non-union, are treated fairly when a company files for bankruptcy and ends the inequities of the current system. This legislation is necessary as companies nationwide are using the laws of this nation to pull the rug from under their workers by skirting their pension obligations. In West Virginia, we’re all too familiar with this. It is unacceptable, and it’s time we stand up for the American worker and protect their pensions.”

The SLAP Act changes current bankruptcy laws to increase the priority of workers during bankruptcy proceedings. Simply put – it moves American workers to the front of the line. It also mandates that companies must continue to make minimum funding contributions towards pension plans during bankruptcy proceedings, increases look back periods from two years to six years, prohibits sales of all of the debtor’s assets within 60 days of filing bankruptcy, and expands restrictions on executive pay during bankruptcy.

View full bill text here.