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Pensions and politics

Posted: October 9, 2010 10:02 p.m.
Updated: October 10, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 

So many in our community work hard for their money and for us: firemen, police, teachers, etc. Their reward is not just a good salary, but also a promise of benefits in their old age — pensions.

But their unions use millions every year to support political agendas and have not funded the pensions.

Many of these pensions are dangerously underfunded, and when it comes time for these retirements, there will be no pensions, no money, no happy old age. Then the unions will come to all of us who do not have a pension, and ask us to make up this difference.

Wrong. I lived in Huntington, W. Va., for two years, and while there I ran into this problem at a large corporation called Special Metals.

SM hired union employees who did not make much money, but the employees were OK with it as they were all promised pensions and health care for their retirement.

SM went bankrupt, and the then current president left the company, taking approximately $6 million in a goodbye payout. The pensions and health care that were promised were not fully funded, then in jeopardy and raided by the creditors. The end effect was that those retirement benefits just disappeared so the workers could not retire. They had to continue to work into their late 60s just to make ends meet. And finally, their lower-cost health benefits disappeared. 

Pensions are not always protected and should be. Two items should happen:

* First, no union should be able to spend one dime on political agendas, charities, raises for management, payouts to executives that leave the company, etc., unless they can prove the pensions are fully funded for that year.

* Second, a federal law should be implemented that protects pensions and retirement benefits from any creditor, bankruptcy or other nefarious grab. 

Don’t just read this. Look up the SM meltdown and how it affected the company’s employees. Anyone currently in a union and just thinking all is fine needs to take action to have open audits of the union accounts and open voting on funding pensions and funding any other agenda.

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