The Dastardly Villains Looking to Cut Employee Pensions

Google “attack on our pensions” and you’ll discover a whole list of Evil Corporate Overlords and education reformers responsible. But you won’t find Iron Workers Local 17 in Ohio or any other union. That will soon change.

The Treasury Department approved an application from the iron workers union to cut vested pension benefits by as much as 50% in an effort to prevent the fund from becoming insolvent.

The pension fund has $90 million in assets but $224 million in liabilities. It is estimated to go under by 2032 without drastic cuts.

Many unions, including teacher unions, have similar deficits while trying to fund the pensions of their employees and retired staffers. The reason they don’t yet have to take similar measures is because they – unlike the iron workers local – have a stable membership base. A secure revenue stream helps put off the day of reckoning well into the future.

But suppose that revenue stream was disrupted? Say by a U.S. Supreme Court decision that banned agency fees. The death knell of teacher unions could be rung by the cost of the benefits they pay their own employees.