When Congress privatized Senate restaurant workers in 2008, it froze certain employees’ retirement benefits at 2008 wage levels; The senators fought to reinstate full retirement benefits for workers
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee, and Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, announced that their bill to restore full retirement benefits for certain Senate dining employees has been signed into law. Klobuchar, Brown, and Blunt have worked on this effort for over a year.
In 2008, the Senate privatized its dining operations, which changed the employment status of 45 Senate dining employees from federal employees to private contractor employees. In addition to changing the employment status of these workers, the 2008 law also froze their retirement benefits, which are based on workers’ pay, at 2008 wage levels. Even though workers’ pay increased in subsequent years, their retirement benefits stayed the same.
The senators’ legislation changes the calculation of retirement benefits for the long-serving Senate dining employees, including for those who have already retired. As a result of their legislation, the employees’ retirement benefits will be based on wages from their entire tenure of Senate service. In some cases, the workers’ retirement benefits could double as a result of the law.
“It’s time that we give our Senate food service workers the benefits they earned. I’m proud to have helped get this done and grateful for all they do,” Klobuchar said.
“These long-serving cafeteria and catering employees work every bit as hard as anyone else in Congress – often harder – and they deserve the full retirement benefits they’ve earned,” Brown said.
“Cafeteria staff work hard and deserve the full retirement benefits they’ve earned. I’m glad we were able to come together to make things right for these employees,” Blunt said.