Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Pension restructuring cuts deep into steelworkers' pockets

From the Chicago Tribune:


Bruce Bostick, 59, a union activist, recalls workers' reactions when the pension agency reduced their benefits initially in 2002.

"At first people were just numb," he says. " 'They can't do that, can they?' Once it began to sink in, there were extreme levels of depression, unbelievable anger. Almost everybody I knew was taking anti-depressants or taking counseling, or just lost it."

There were five suicides in his local alone, he says. Now, nearly six years later, the issue is resurfacing. Like Wyers, Bostick will lose most of his monthly benefits.

His letter arrived in early April at his home in Columbus, Ohio, where he moved to help his parents. The agency said his $1,047.90 monthly benefit would be reduced to $139.42. With an additional 10 percent reduction for overpayments, his final check will be $125.48, before taxes. He owes a total of $65,410.56.

"It's just such a betrayal. We negotiated that benefit in good faith and then the pension board comes along and takes away everything you got," he says.

Pension restructuring cuts deep into steelworkers' pockets...

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