More COLA Briefs and the 411(d)(6) Questions

November 12 saw more briefs filed in Berg v. Christie by the Plaintiffs (P) and the Unions (U).

Interesting (with some nonsensical) excerpts below:

Given the recent line item veto of a proposed appropriation that itself was below actuarial projections, defendants’ claims that COLAs must be eliminated to save the pension funds is hollow. Their claim that they merely “froze” COLAs is disingenuous. Their conduct shows no intent to solve the problem. The appropriations for “unfreezing” them are very likely never going to happen. (P-1)

Defendants argue that pensions must not be paid in full because COLAs jeopardize future solvency. Given the Court’s holding in Burgos, the future health of the pensions based on present projections is immaterial. Government funding, if any, will be on an annual basis. But, no one has argued that the pension funds are insolvent. They are and will remain so for an indeterminate time, with COLAs. (P-2,3)

As long as political expediency requires limitations on appropriations, there is no hope of reaching the statutory levels required for reinstatement. (P-6)

After living in an economic fantasyland for years, defendants generically (i.e., governors and legislatures) want to force that on plaintiffs as part of a gloom and doom reality. As this brief is written, the stock market is approaching 18,000 again for the first time in years. No one can predict the future, and dueling actuaries are not legislators. (P-8)

if the employer had no obligation to pay a COLA along with a pension, it would not need to fund it. Pre-funding eases future problems but only if there is an obligation. In arguing to the contrary, defendants actually prove plaintiffs’ case. (P-9)

Paying COLAs may or may not hasten the process. There are any number of methods that the public fisc can be protected, but they are political, from forcing shared services to legalizing and taxing marijuana to legalizing forms of gambling that pass federal muster or, raising existing taxes. (P-11)

However, Defendants now argue that the scope of the non-forfeitable rights section of Chapter 113 is directly related to the IRC sections of Chapter 113, in particular to the list of pension systems in section 1, and the statutory citations to those systems. This Court should view skeptically Defendants’ attempt to change their argument to now assert that the IRC sections of Chapter 113 inform the non-forfeitable rights section. However, in any event, Intervenors will show that the IRC sections of Chapter 113 in fact support the conclusion that, in enacting the non-forfeitable rights statute, the Legislature intended to protect all aspects of the benefits program, including COLAS, except for retiree medical benefits. (U-4)

Section 401 (a) (2) of the IRC protects the corpus and income of the trust of a qualified pension plan from any diversion of assets for purposes other than for the exclusive benefit of the employees or their beneficiaries. (C-14)

Similarly, Section 415 of the IRC sets specific dollar limits on the amount of annual benefits a retiree can receive under a qualified pension benefit plan. 26 u.s.c. § 415. Those maximum annual benefit amounts include both base benefit and COLA benefits. (C-15)

The Unions brief basically does two things:

  1. signs on to a lot of arguments made by co-plaintiff Charles Ouslander; and
  2. tries to insert the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) into the debate.

However the main argument they would naturally gravitate to from the IRC is a section that all private-plan actuaries use as a noun – 411(d)(6):

(6) Accrued benefit not to be decreased by amendment

(A) In general

A plan shall be treated as not satisfying the requirements of this section if the accrued benefit of a participant is decreased by an amendment of the plan
.
This would seem like a slam-dunk for the plaintiffs as New Jersey did amend the plan to eliminate COLAs which are unquestionably part of the definition of an accrued benefit in the private-sector pension world (or they were when COLAs existed in the private-sector pension world) but the very next IRC section – 411(e) -starts off:

(e) Application of vesting standards to certain plans

    (1) The provisions of this section (other than paragraph (2)) shall not apply to—
             (A) a governmental plan (within the meaning of section 414 (d)),
.
So why are the Unions referencing the IRC?  And, more to the point, why isn’t the state?

53 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on November 27, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    401(a)(7) Minimum Vesting Standards of section 411. The normal rules for private plans under Code section 411 are not applicable to governmental plans because of section 411(e)(1); however, governmental plans must satisfy Code Sections 401(a)(4) and (7) as in effect before the enactment of ERISA, because of section 411(e)(2). Before ERISA, Code section 401(a)(4) stated that either benefits or contributions must not discriminate in favor of employees who are officers, shareholders, persons whose principal duties consist in supervising the work of other employees, or highly compensated employees.

    Code Section 401(a)(7) read as follows:
    (7) A trust shall not constitute a qualified trust under this section unless the plan of which such trust is a part provides that, upon its termination or upon complete discontinuance of contributions, under the plan, the rights of all employees to benefits accrued to the date of such termination or discontinuance, to the extent then funded, or the amounts credited to the employees’ accounts are nonforfeitable. This paragraph shall not apply to benefits or contributions which, under provisions of the plan adopted pursuant to regulations prescribed by the Secretary or his delegate to preclude the discrimination prohibited by paragraph (4), may not be used for designated employees in the event of early termination of the plan.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Tough Love on November 27, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Quoting …..”After living in an economic fantasyland for years, defendants generically (i.e., governors and legislatures) want to force that on plaintiffs as part of a gloom and doom reality. ”

    INITIALLY, when reading that sentence, I mixed up my Plaintiff & Defendant and thought (as most taxpayers with a brain would) that it was the the WORKERS who were the ones living in a “economic fantasyland” …. but NO, the workers are claiming it’s the Governor/Legislature living there.

    Perhaps the Governor/Legislature is AS WELL, but boy did I got a good laugh out of that. Evidently, NJ’s workers DON’T think retiring & COLLECTING a pension 10 years (15 for safety workers) sooner than their Private Sector counterparts, with the formula-benefit ALONE typically 2x-3x times greater, and then COLA-increased (before the recent COLA suspension) thereby jacking up the 2x-3x multiple to 3x-4x greater in value at retirement …………. ISN’T an “economic fantasyland”.
    ————————————————————————————–

    How would someone with a brain NOT expect those forced to pay for it (the beleaguered and betrayed Taxpayers) to one day rise up and say …. hell no, you bunch of thieves !

    Reply

  3. Posted by Anonymous on November 27, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    Not paying the promised by law pension contribution, the state hastened the demise, so why are they worried about hastening the demise of pension system when everything they do hastens the demise. They just want to pay as little as possible before the demise.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on November 27, 2015 at 6:47 pm

      Smart tactic on the governor’s part. Since the absurdly generous pension “promises” were a fraud from the get-go ….. ONLY being granted AS A RESULT OF the Public Sector Unions’ bribing of our Legislature with camapign contributions and election support …….. these “promises” should NOT be honored …. nor funded.

      Reply

  4. Posted by Anonymous on November 27, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    The fact is the various pension funds can’t support reinstating the COLA. Can’t the State satisfy this lawsuit by allowing retiree funded COLA’s (ie, reduce their base allowance to allow for a COLA) with NO taxpayer subsidy?

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on November 27, 2015 at 8:51 pm

      That’s not something on someone ELSE’s dime ….. the mantra of Public Sector Unions/worker/retirees.

      Reply

  5. Posted by S Moderation Douglas on November 27, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    Tough Love:

    “Evidently, NJ’s workers DON’T think retiring & COLLECTING a pension 10 years (15 for safety workers) sooner than their Private Sector counterparts, …yadda, yadda, yadda, etc. ad nauseum”

    Gallup:

    “Americans’ average self-reported age of retirement has slowly moved upward. Gallup conducted several polls in the early 1990s and found that the average retirement age was 57 in both 1991 and 1993. From 2002 through 2012, the average hovered around 60. Over the past two years, the average age at which Americans report retiring has increased to 62.

    Most public retirement systems have reported average retirement ages in the last decade as around 60 for non safety employees …….just like the national retirement age. Teachers retirement ages are usually slightly higher. Not 10 years sooner. Nearly equal. Got a problem with equal?

    Safety statistics, as I recall, show average retirements between ages 53 and 57. Not 15 years sooner, and not surprising since some law enforcement agencies have mandatory retirement ages between 55 and 60.

    If I told you once, I told you a million times. Don’t exaggerate !!!

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on November 28, 2015 at 12:40 am

      And I’ve told you a million times, don’t leave out pertinent facts.

      Even IF the “average” non-safety worker retirement age is only a few years younger than those of Private Sector workers, those PUBLIC Sector workers typically get to retire at that younger age with no early retirement adjustment to their pension … for which Social Security charges 6% per year of age.

      When Private Sector workers under single-employer DB Plans retire before their Plans’ “Normal Retirement Age” (typically 65), their pension IS reduced by about 5% for EACH year before their Plan’s NRA.

      That’s a BIG deal.
      —————————

      Then factor in that the typical PUBLIC Sector DB pension “Formula Factor” is 1.5 times greater (2 times greater for safety workers) than those of Private Sector Plans, and we have another BIG deal.

      ——————————

      And while COLAs are now suspended in NJ, it;’s almost universal for PUBLIC Sector pensions to include then and for Private Sector pensions to almost NEVER include them.

      That another BIG deal

      ——————————–
      And those 3 above BIG deals are multiplicative in impact (not additive), which is why non-safety worker pensions are TYPICALLY 3 times greater in value at retirement
      than those of Private Sector workers retiring at the SAME age, with the SAME pay, and the SAME years of service ….. and with that 3 times greater rising to over 5 times greater for Safety workers with the richest and most egregious pensions…… as I demonstrated in detain in the 95-th and 96-th comments (of the 99 comments) to an earlier John Bury Blog article found here ……

      https://burypensions.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/its-embarsaing-and-im-tired-of-hearing-this-i-want-what-i-was-promised/#comments

      Reply

  6. Posted by S Moderation Douglas on November 28, 2015 at 3:33 am

    Unless you have better data that Gallup, there is no “IF”; there is no ” few years younger “. Public and private worker retirement ages are equal.

    Got a problem with EQUAL ?

    “10 to 15 years younger” is, and has always been, a lie.

    There is no need to calculate to two decimal places the difference between your obviously skewed OPINION of public pensions and the largely non existent private pensions. (Apples to ether) It is common knowledge that public worker pensions are greater than most of those in the private sector. It is called deferred compensation. That’s a “pertinent fact”.

    “That another BIG deal”

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on November 28, 2015 at 4:18 am

      And YOUR opinion …. that of a retired Public Sector worker unjustly enriched by a pension undoubtedly (because they all are) 3x-4x greater in value at retirement than it would have been in a COMPARABLE Private Sector job and looking to protect that UNJUST pension from justifiable reduction ……… is to be take as gospel ?

      Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on November 28, 2015 at 4:20 am

      Quoting SMD ….. “It is called deferred compensation”

      No, it legalized THEFT via underhanded deal-making between the Public Sector Unions and our self-serving Elected Officials.

      Reply

  7. Posted by S Moderation Douglas on November 28, 2015 at 5:44 am

    Now you’re just repeating yourself.

    Back to the topic: “10 years (15 for safety workers) sooner than their Private Sector counterparts”, is untrue. Not just a little, untrue, but extremely untrue.

    My own personal employment history has no bearing on that fact, and I am not asking anyone to take my opinion as gospel.

    If you can’t substantiate your claim that public workers retire 10 years sooner than the private sector, why should we give any credence to your other claims?

    (Rhetorical question)

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on November 28, 2015 at 10:30 am

      Probably a non factor but the recent P&B reforms of 2011 has accelerated the retirement of publics which might impact the “average” age.

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on November 28, 2015 at 10:57 am

        Another point is the 2011 P&B reforms (non safety worker’s) increased minimum years of service from 25 to 30 as we as minimum retirement age for early retirement penalty (3% lifetime reduction for evrry year under minimum retirement age) from 55 to ?. Also the current premium share is applicable to retiree’s who as of July 1, 2011 had less than 20 years of vested service.

        Instead of switching to a DCP offer a (~50%) reduced DBP and implement health coverage changes for actives and retirees and implement premium share for retirees. In my opinion this would minimize the active members rushing to retire.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on November 28, 2015 at 12:00 pm

          Big f-ing deal, a 3% per-year-of-age early retirement adjustment factor.

          Social Security uses 6% per year BECAUSE that is the proper factor to achieve actuarial equivalence. Using a smaller factor means that the Taxpayers are FURTHER subsidizing those who elect to retire early …. beyond their already absurdly generous pensions.

          Private Sector employers don’t do this because the subsidy would come out of the Company’s pocket. Why should our Elected Officials do this just because they can reach into a 3-rd party’s pocket (the Taxpayer) and swipe the extra funds needed ?

          We’re tired of being ripped-off !

          Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on November 28, 2015 at 11:51 am

      Get real. The most egregious pensions are those of safety workers, and where I live VERY few work beyond age 55 and get full/unreduced pensions. Even the few lucky Private Sector workers* who still have “final average salary” DB pensions (of the type afforded almost all Public Sector workers) typically can’t do so until 65. This 10 year difference make the VALUE of the Safety worker’s pension just about DOUBLE (5% for EACH of the 10 years) that of the Private Sector worker ….. and that’s BEFORE factoring in that safety worker formula factors are typically DOUBLE those used in Private Sector Plans.

      DOUBLING twice already gives the safety worker a pension FOUR times greater in value ……. and that’s BEFORE factoring in the incremental value of COLA-increases typically increasing an otherwise identical pension’s value by ANOTHER 1/4 to 1/3…. noting that COLA-incteases are now suspended in NJ.

      That’s why safety worker pensions are ROUTINELY 5+ times greater that those of a Private Sector worker retiring at the SAME age, with the SAME pay, and the SAME years of service.

      You can distract, distort, mislead, and lie but the above is a VERY accurate picture of how Private Sector Taxpayers are being financially “mugged” by being responsibly to pay for all but the very small percentage (typically 10-15% for safety workers) of total Plan costs that the workers pay for via their own contributions.

      Non-safety Public Sector worker pension are less “rich” (in both formula factors and provisions) but still typically 2x-4x greater in value in retirement than those of similarly situated Private Sector workers). Are Taxpayers supposed to be “happy” because it is not as bad as the 5+ times greater rip-off from Safety-worker pensions ?

      * I’m talking about single employer Plans, not multi-employer Union-sponsored Plans like truckers belong to

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on November 28, 2015 at 12:04 pm

        What part is f what I said isn’t real?

        The point is those members who were grandfathered under the 2011 reforms (non safety worker’s) had 20+ years of service, 4 1/2 years later they’re 6 months from eligible early retirement!

        Why encourage them to leave? Why not entice them to stay, paying increased contributions for a 50% benefit reduction? Logically it would be a financial benefit to not increase the negative net cash flow from the pension funds, unless the ultimate goal is failure? Aside from the fact that popular opinion is they’re already overpaid and underworked.

        Reply

      • Posted by The Resident Nutcase aka BH on November 28, 2015 at 3:52 pm

        That’s why “safety workers” pensions are sustainable and well funded. So step off goofball!! You just sound like a cranky jealous dolt!!! Lol. Get over yourself already. Everyone…. EVERYONE is sick and tired of your work out venom. Get a grip… Then get a life!!!!

        Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on November 28, 2015 at 12:03 pm

      So what if public sector plans allow early retirement with 25 years of service at age 55. What is the issue? The free marketplace both private and public rightfully includes labor. Compensation is a part of the free market to sell employee talents and purchase talent. Compensation is important to attract and retain employees within the labor market. So, freedom to accept and reject pay and benefit is the normal. The whole notion of “equal” is overshadowed by what the realities of the labor market presents.

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on November 28, 2015 at 12:33 pm

        Are you serious? Don’t you know “free market” is only relevant to the private’s! God forbid if they got off their free market throne and moved to another Municipality, State, or Country – wishful thinking!!!

        Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on November 28, 2015 at 1:08 pm

        What planet do you live on? While there is indeed a free market and competition for talent in the Private Sector, that’s certainly NOT true in the Public Sector …. where those footing the bill are NOT those making compensation decisions, and those who are make compensation decisions (our elected officials) CLEARLY trade their favorable votes on Public Sector pay, pensions, and benefits in exchange for Public Sector union campaign contributions and election support.

        BOTH the bribe-givers (the Unions) AND the bribe takers (our elected officials) should be charged with bribery and racketeering.

        And … What’s the issue? Public Sector compensation is grossly excessive by any reasonable metric when compared to that of reasonably comparable Private Sector workers. It’s unnecessary, unjust, unfair (to Taxpayers called upon to pay for almost all of it), and clearly unaffordable.
        ———————————

        Your pension/benefits are “toast” ….. I suggest that you develop a “Plan B” for your retirement needs.

        Reply

      • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on November 28, 2015 at 1:39 pm

        It’s been said many times that public sector workers “claim” to be underpaid. If they were truly underpaid, they would get one of those good paying private sector jobs. Alternatively, private sector workers who claim public pensions are more than theirs could

        ….wait for it…….

        get a government job.

        Says Tom West:

        “Following that line of reasoning, it’s tautologically impossible to *ever* be ‘screwed on pay’, in either the public or private sector.”

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on November 28, 2015 at 6:40 pm

          Exactly who claims that (as a group) Public Sector workers are underpaid ….. other than the Public Sector workers themselves ?

          And …”many times” ?

          Now who’s the “moron”?

          Reply

          • Posted by Anonymous on November 28, 2015 at 7:26 pm

            It’s still you TL, no contest!!!!!

          • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on November 28, 2015 at 8:27 pm

            Who?

            Bad day? Blurred vision? Problems concentrating?

            “public sector workers “claim” to be underpaid.”

            That’s not even remotely ambiguous. Subject, verb, predicate adjective.

            “private sector workers who claim public pensions are more than theirs”

            May be slightly more difficult, but not rocket surgery.

            Private sector workers; Tough Love, for example, claim that public sector pensions are larger than private sector pensions.
            __________________________________________
            Now, back to the topic: “10 years (15 for safety workers) sooner than their Private Sector counterparts”, is untrue. Not just a little, untrue, but extremely untrue.

            Is there a 15 year story yet? Not that anyone is buying the 10 year excuse. Comparing actual retirement ages, it seems the average safety worker retires at 55, and the average miscellaneous worker at 60.

      • Posted by Anonymous on November 28, 2015 at 7:24 pm

        The public sector purchases goods and services from the private sector, economic interdependence.

        Reply

  8. Posted by S Moderation Douglas on November 28, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Quoting S Moderation Douglas:

    “Back to the topic: “10 years (15 for safety workers) sooner than their Private Sector counterparts”, is untrue. Not just a little, untrue, but extremely untrue.”

    Now what? We’re comparing safety workers to the “few lucky Private Sector workers*” who can’t get ‘full retirement’ until 65. Even though, somehow, for the last decade, they have been retiring at or below age 60 (just like non-safety public workers).

    Well, that peculiar contortion gives our “10 years”. I’m on tenterhooks waiting for the “15 year” story.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on November 28, 2015 at 6:43 pm

      Yes, retiring below 65 WITH material early retirement reduction factors applied (and IF they are one of the few lucky ones to have a DB pension even half as generous as a Public Sector workers doing comparable work).

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on November 28, 2015 at 7:29 pm

        TL you should start a movement for private sector 401k victims, your passion is wasted on this blog.

        Reply

        • Posted by The Resident Nutcase on November 29, 2015 at 11:38 am

          I’ve offered that sentiment many times. So much anger and hatred focused on others, why not put that passion to use bringing others UP and not pushing to bring others DOWN.
          Stupid if you ask me

          Reply

  9. Posted by Anonymous on November 28, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    Please MASTER Privates don’t hurt us helpless Publics. We didn’t mean you any harm. We just din’t know any better. We’ll do whatever you say now, honest.

    Ok so the turkey salad leftovers is making we stir crazy and let’s not forget I’m on TL’s meds – LOL!!!

    Reply

  10. Posted by S Moderation Douglas on November 28, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Posted by Tough Love on November 28, 2015 at 11:51 am

    “Even the few lucky Private Sector workers* ….yadda, yadda”

    “* I’m talking about single employer Plans, not multi-employer Union-sponsored Plans like truckers belong to”

    WTF ? (Why the favoritism) A pension is a pension, n’est-ce pas?

    Moderation has an inquiring mind. I told (“tried” to tell) Tough Love that private sector construction workers do have DB pensions. …….

    Posted by Tough Love on November 25, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    “the workers at those PRIVATE firms do not OVERCOMPENSATE their workers …. and those PRIVATE-Firm-workers that build our roads and firetrucks most definitely do NOT get Defined Benefit Pensions (of ANY type, let alone the grossly excessive …..” (…more redundant TL blather)

    “of ANY type”

    But Moderation’s father (D Moderation Douglas) had always taught his children it is impolite to ask anyone about his personal finances. (“personal” being the key word.) How much do you make? What is your house worth? How much is in your IRA?

    None of your business!!!

    (Also rude to brag or complain to others about your own finances.)

    I’m sure D Moderation won’t mind. This is general information, not personal. Plus, he’s no longer with us, having long since shufflel’d off this mortall coile.

    I looked up the flyer for my state job: $4,613 per month plus benefits

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/jobs/ExamBulletins/OpenExams/9TR06.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwiO9oWX3LPJAhVL-GMKHZ2XCY4QFggbMAA&usg=AFQjCNG3Fc4PQygeklJOKtvttoRnUHEqWA&sig2=fnGZLJevZY56lQ9piTY_BQ

    Since I left, they got a five percent raise, which went directly to pensions, so take home pay is still the same as in 2007: about $4,150 before taxes, SS, medical, etc.

    Here is the equivalent private sector job in my area:

    http://www.ibewlu684.org/mobile/index.cfm?zone=/unionactive/view_page.cfm&page=Wages20and20Benefits

    The salary alone is 50% more than mine, (with no 10% deduction for pensions) and the benefits?

    http://www.ibewlu684.org/mobile/index.cfm?zone=/unionactive/view_article.cfm&HomeID=74640&page=Questions20and20answers

    Somewhere south of shabby. Notice there are four pensions. It’s not either/or. They are additive.

    But that’s California (central valley, coastal cities are MUCH higher).

    How much is New Jersey? I couldn’t find a contract, but this was on a IBEW discussion site in response to a question about local wages.

    IBEW local 102
    Parsippany, New Jersey

    “$49/ in your pocket
    Total package just over $100 an hour”

    That is TWICE my cash wages. I daresay that $24 per hour private sector cash advantage itself could finance a decent retirement nest egg.

    So why are we ignoring MEPs, Love?

    Not as much as a policeman, true, but these particular private sector taxpayers do NOT make less than their public sector counterparts.

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on November 28, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      SMD, I’m sure I’d be preaching to the choir if I told you the TL’s of the world have a warped and twisted sensibility about themselves and others. But then again, DMD probably told you about that to.

      Happy Holidays to you and TL!

      Reply

      • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on November 28, 2015 at 6:58 pm

        Thanks, Anonymous. Happy Holidays right back. (To ALL the Anonymouses) and TL.

        DMD will always be my idol. He raised nine children by himself after mom passed at 42. He never finished high school, and worked barely over minimum wage jobs his whole life, sometimes two full time jobs at once. (under AFL-CIO, no less)

        In retirement, he lived entirely on Social Security in a 900 sq. ft. house ($75 a month principle, interest, taxes and insurance.) In the “bad” part of town, meaning no sidewalks. Retired sheriff next door.

        When he passed, the funeral director said it was one of the biggest funerals he had officiated. Standing room only and outside speakers for the ones who couldn’t get in. The mayor and some of the biggest business men in town told me how much they admired him. Why? I don’t know. I only know what he meant to me and my family. Truly the salt of the earth. And still the wisest man I have known.

        Thanks for reminding me. I was busy with family and friends on Thursday and he never entered my mind. Today, he is the one thing on Earth for which I am most thankful.

        Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on November 28, 2015 at 7:03 pm

        SMD likes to omit pertinent facts ….. like that the Union electrician (while making a higher hourly wage when actually “working”) moves from Union assignment to Union assignment, often working only half the year (and often much less).

        And with a multi-employer pension certainly no more than to 1/4 to 1/2 (in value at retirement) than that promised the Public Sector worker.

        Easy to omit pertinent facts …….. when the GOAL is to mislead.

        Reply

        • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on November 28, 2015 at 9:30 pm

          “SMD likes to omit pertinent facts …..”

          I told ya, Love. Give me your E-mail address, and I’ll send you all my posts for pre approval and editing. We’ll use my spell checker, though. Yours is a bysmal. (See what I did there? Nyuck, nyuck, nuck) Bysmal, I crack me up.

          “Common Misconceptions of the IBEW”

          IBEW Local 743, Reading, Pennsylvania:

          “Well unfortunately layoffs are a possibility in the construction industry. But this issue has been used as a scare tactic with great success by non-union employers to intimidate workers about the IBEW.
          The truth is that IBEW electricians are laid off no more often than any other workers in our industry. We use a referral process to refer our electricians to our signatory contractors. Our electricians do not rely only on one contractor; they have the option of working for dozens of different contractors working on many different types of projects.
          Approximately 2/3 of our members work long term with one company; the balance of our members work for various contractors for various lengths of time. These jobs may last weeks sometimes years depending on the type of project.”

          There’s more, but John may be tired of me using up his bandwidth. On an anecdotal note, my daughters father in law came to me, sometime in the early eighties when the recession dried up jobs and asked about state work. He was a journeyman with twenty some years experience, and didn’t feel qualified for any of the state jobs listed. He had a few dry spells, but his wife never worked outside the home and they always had a better quality of life (materially, anyway) than my wife and I with two incomes. As I said, my dad told me not to pry, but Ernie seems to be doing very well in retirement, too.

          When I retired, my job was filled by an IBEW electrician with sporadic job opportunities. (2009, it was not a very good year.) He didn’t make it through the six month probation period. The boss was very happy with him. His attitude, knowledge, and skills were excellent. But even in the dark days of the greatest recession, he figured part time with IBEW was better than full time with the state.

          Two days ago, you told me these guys didn’t even have a pension.

          “of ANY type”

          Now you’re the expert on their employment history?

          Love, you are a veritable font of misinformation.

          Reply

          • Posted by Tough Love on November 28, 2015 at 11:21 pm

            Sorry, but I was thinking of Single-employer pensions. Multi-employer pensions Plans have always been a small part of the total …. growing in % only because single employer pensions have all but been shut down due to the untenable cost …. as should be all Public Sector pensions, again, due to the untenable cost.

    • Posted by Tough Love on November 28, 2015 at 6:49 pm

      Quoting SMD ….

      ““Even the few lucky Private Sector workers* ….yadda, yadda”

      “* I’m talking about single employer Plans, not multi-employer Union-sponsored Plans like truckers belong to”

      WTF ? (Why the favoritism) A pension is a pension, n’est-ce pas? ”

      ——————–

      Great SMD, a pension is a pension ……………

      I will WITHOUT question support changing all Public Sector pensions (including the future service of all CURRENT workers) to a a pension in formula and provisions IDENTICAL to the typical Multi-employer Plans your now touting,

      Are you game …. if so, be prepared to take a 50%-75% reduction in the value of your PUBLIC Sector pension upon retirement.

      No private Sector employer or group of employers (as are associated with multi-employer Plans) would be so foolish as to grant such absurdly generous … and hence absurdly COSTLY …. pensions.

      Reply

  11. Posted by S Moderation Douglas on November 28, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Reportedly, Sirhan Sirhan, at one of his parole hearings, stated “If Robert Kennedy were alive today I truly believe he would forgive me.”

    How ironic; the one man who might have forgiven you, but he can’t….because you killed him!!!
    _________________________________________________________
    Posted by Tough Love on November 28, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    “I will WITHOUT question support changing all Public Sector pensions (including the future service of all CURRENT workers) to a a pension in formula and provisions IDENTICAL to the typical Multi-employer Plans your now touting,”

    Much like Sirhan Sirhan, it really doesn’t matter one whit what you will or will not support.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on November 28, 2015 at 8:32 pm

      You’re the one touting these Private Sector DEFINED BENEFIT Plans (as you repeatedly noted).

      What’s the matter, now that I called you out (yea, let’s REPLACE Public Sector Plans with THESE Plans) they’re not “generous” enough ?

      2-faced, aren’t you.

      Reply

  12. Posted by S Moderation Douglas on November 28, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    Go for it, Love. If you recall, I actually don’t have a dog in this hunt, anyway.

    Posted by Tough Love on November 25, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    “the workers at those PRIVATE firms do not OVERCOMPENSATE their workers …. and those PRIVATE-Firm-workers that build our roads and firetrucks most definitely do NOT get Defined Benefit Pensions (of ANY type,”

    ______________________________
    Posted by Tough Love on November 28, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    You’re the one touting these Private Sector DEFINED BENEFIT Plans (as you repeatedly noted).
    ………….
    Actually, I believe I have “repeatedly” said that you, Tough Love, are “repeatedly” stressing the public pensions out of context with total compensation. You said, my Love, they had no DB pensions at all, and did not OVERCOMPENSATE their employees.

    Ya made me look. Most of the private guys I interacted with on the job, I gathered they had decent pensions (and retiree healthcare) and good pay. Until today I really had no idea how good. My cash pay was $4,600 month. That’s $26.50 an hour with 10% right off the top for pension contribution. Which means, when I worked in the Bay Area, IBEW made twice what I did “in the pocket”, plus another 40% in benefits. (They do not contribute to their own DB pensions.)

    Twice, Love. Twice the cash wages. If worker A (that’s me) made $55,000 working for the state (and I did), then went to work in the private sector making $110,000, he could fund his own damb pension from wages alone. But he doesn’t have to. The IBEW electrician makes twice the cash PLUS another 40% of salary in benefits. And guess what? 40% of $110,000 is TWICE as much as 40% of $55,000.
    ______________________________
    Posted by Tough Love on November 28, 2015 at 12:40 am

    “That another BIG deal”

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on November 28, 2015 at 11:19 pm

      Quoting ….”Most of the private guys I interacted with on the job, I gathered they had decent pensions (and retiree healthcare) and good pay.”

      Sorry, but I was thinking of Single-employer pensions. Multi-employer pensions Plans have always been a small part of the total …. growing in % only because single employer pensions have all but been shut down due to the untenable cost …. as should be all Public Sector pensions, again, due to the untenable cost.

      Reply

  13. Posted by S Moderation Douglas on November 29, 2015 at 12:02 am

    Sorry?

    Reply

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