The headline is taken from the WSJ of yesterday and was probably written in response to that part of the bankruptcy of Delphi resulting in the government taking over and paying off the pensions of Delphi so GM doesn't have to absorb them in their takeover. The kicker of the article, however, is when it segues into a story on labor unions as follows:
"Only last week, the country's largest union local re-opened the contract for its 145,000 members two years early and gave up raises and reduced retirement benefits for future hires." Apparently they are talking early so they can "fix" the problem of their under-funded pension funds. It goes on
"....bigger mystery is that the unions do a far better job with funds created for their officers and employees than for mere workers. The SEIU Affiliates, Officers and Employees Pension Plan--which covers the staff and bosses at its locals--was funded a of 2007 at 102.2%. The plan for the folks at SEIU international headquarters was funded at 84.8%.
Union officer benefits are also far more generous than anything dues-paying workers enjoy. Consider again the SEIU, probably the country's most powerful union. Their officers and employees get a yearly 3% cost of living increase, but SEIU members get none; officers qualify for an early pension at 50 or after more than 30 years of service, but workers can't retire early with a pension; officers qualify for disability retirement after a year's service, but workers need 10 years. In the land of union retirement, some workers are more equal than others."
The conclusion was that no doubt most workers have no idea of this kind of discrepancy. Also concluded was that this should be of great interest to the 93% of the private workforce that doesn't belong to a union, but may be forced into it if The Big Labor's agenda becomes law under card check or whatever they are calling their "plan for the future" now.