Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Reader: Who Are Unions Really Representing?

From our mailbag:

As a retired union employee from a large manufacturing facility, (Western Electric, AT&T, Lucent Technologies, and finally OFS) I retired in April, 2005. As I walked out of the door for the last time, I assumed I was leaving with benefits and pension for life.

Short lived both. In 2006 bargaining, the union, (CWA) and company (OFS) decided that retirees should pay for health care cost. The company mailed be a letter in 2006 giving me 30 days to decide if I wanted to take a $10,400 a year buy out, before taxes, for 4 years and never have benefits again or benefit cost would be taken out of my pension check, prorated at about 50% of my pension check in 2007, 80% of my pension check in 2008 and in 2009 I will have $98.00 a month left in my pension check, as long as provided the benefit premiums do not exceed my pension check amount at which time I will have the honors of paying the difference if any. Don’t let me forget to mention that my deductible and co-pays also went up.

After investigating, the union and company apparently have broken no laws. Even though I have tried to get the news out, through TV talk shows, newspapers etc.. everyone seems to be scared to touch the story.

While the unions rake in the MILLIONS, they seem to forget so long as the TOP GUNS of the unions are protected with their pensions and benefits and that union members are paying for their benefits. Even as they grow with their check cards and voting rights for the members gone, Who are they really representing? YOU or THEMSELVES?

A few questions:

  • Why are our pensions not protected better thru ERISA?
  • Why are our benefits not protected thru ERISA?
  • Why are unions allowed to give away retiree benefits to protect the active employees?
  • Why can’t union officials be held accountable for their actions?
  • Why can’t the union be held accountable for their actions?
  • If retiree’s can gain or lose in contract negotiations, why can’t they vote?

A very concerned retiree,

Dennis Hardigree

 [email protected]

Categories: Mailbag