Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Chicago bosses take multiple pensions

The Chicago Tribune and WGN-TV reported today that bosses in the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) are set to receive benefits from two and even three pension funds upon retirement from their positions. The highlights:

Union pension benefits are not public record, but the Tribune and WGN-TV obtained information confirming that at least seven union officials are accruing benefits in multiple pensions and another retired official already is receiving money from two pensions.

One labor leader stands to reap more than $400,000 a year from three pensions — the city laborers fund, a union district council fund and a national union fund — all covering the same time period.

The Tribune reports that union bosses are using a loophole in a state pension law that prohibits union members who receive city pensions from “receiving credit in any pension plan established by the local labor organization based on his employment by the organization.”

The LIUNA bosses and the city pension fund argue that the “Construction and General Laborers District Council of Chicago and Vicinity” does not count as a “local labor organization” and thus they are entitled to claim the city pension and the union pension. And boy, do they stand to claim quite a pretty penny. The Tribune gives this example of a boss’s benefits:

Among those in line to reap multiple pensions with the blessing of city pension fund officials is Liberato “Al” Naimoli, president of Cement Workers Local 76.

Naimoli retired in 2010 from a $15,000-a-year city job that he hadn’t worked at in a quarter-century. He now receives a city pension, based on his union salary that pays him about $158,000 a year, more than any other annuitant in the city laborers’ pension fund.

In order to get that inflated city pension, Naimoli signed an application in 2009 that stated he was not receiving credit in any local union pension plan. Yet information obtained by the Tribune and WGN-TV shows that the local has been sending pension contributions on his behalf to the union fund since 1977. He is now eligible to receive about $60,000 a year.

For comparison, the Tribune reports that the average member’s benefit is $29,000 per year from one pension. Being the boss has its benefits.

Categories: AFL-CIOCenter for Union FactsUnfair Share