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Veteran Advisor

Re: Defined benefits

Seems like a bad setup. Why would the pensioners themselves not be represented directly?

Of course I can understand where lots of good workers do not have the ability to manage or oversee pensions without taking some training to better understand pensions and their responsibilities.

As for boards, and board members who just get the job for the 'party' it is not just pension trustees that fall into that.

Always good to have someone on the board to remind members why they are there.

Veteran Advisor

Re: The influence of big labor

  Actually, it's not. Although there is one large fund, there are numerous ones under that umbrella. If member A has a majority of years worked during the last boom time, versus member B that their majority years aren't the payouts are really different, and also the current market scenario when they worked. Life expectancy, disease, death ? number of years after retirement, shallow vesting, they all add up to make it very complex. If the fund becomes bloated or large, due to mandatory reporting to government agencies, the government will outright audit the fund and penalize it, or the old standby of passing repressive legislation and reporting requirements to throw work to their political cronies that kick campaign contributions back to the same politicians. Bush did that exact thing, and because of the mandatory reporting, the costs to generate the report such as printing and mail costs, their information never changed that was already available to each and every member to review and make copies of, but the mailings happen two times a year now instead of one at the end of the year, and there are 5 pages of required statute references instead of just one page......................for the same report. That runs about $15,000,000.00 per year that is divided among all the covered members.


  No member can touch ANY pension money until a certain age, and that is for payout only, just like a social security pension. The supplemental pension can be tapped after numerous rules have been met, and they pay a stiff penalty and taxes, and they can't borrow against it, but there are some terminally ill options.    


  Actually, the political contributions work the opposite of what you think. The fund management company will do what I refer to as churning, it's basically like filling a tub with water and do nothing but stir it, and each time your hand position passes the 12:00 position, you collect money, with nothing lost or gained. What management companies do is equal or offsetting trades to generate transaction commissions and fees. They are pretty disciplined about it so it doesn't end and  it's sometimes hard to detect, and some companies will do it a lot across the board, but it takes some scrutiny to compare the returns for each and every trade that was done. Then, those same management companies make political contributions to a politician or party that is the opposite of the member's choice, and that money comes from their pension money that was abused or the money was fraudulently generated.

Veteran Advisor

Re: Defined benefits

  They are "corporate unions" now, with positions like safety director, first and second vice president and such, and they TRY to act like CEOs of big corporations with the lingo and catchphrases, along with the expensive suits. NONE of them have ANY outside formal training or schooling, basically it's some minimal internal exchanges of "don't do that", and what I call "glorified circle-jerking". It's patting each other on the back or giving out certificates with no external source of info or input, swap positions and return the favor, so everybody always smells like a rose. It's quite funny to watch and hear the justifications for their constant self-rewarding antics.

  The locals used to be represented by someone that was directly elected by the members of that local. It's similar to buying a $30.00 book on how to save money, the elected positions  were done away with because "it creates fiefdoms and a patronage system", and the elections are now at the next higher level, and those elected positions appoint people to every union position/job. So, it makes a campaign a lot harder now, because it has to be done at a regional level, instead of within the local. Yup, just like that book, the first chapter is titled, "You shouldn't have bought this book". All it did was make removing unwanted and ineffective leadership harder to remove, and created MORE  and concentrated patronage. So, ironically, the full time positions that are employed by the union, their work isn't covered under any scope of work in the collective bargaining agreement which is why they aren't in the same pension fund, and they are actually at-will employees of the union, and beholden to the "elected" leader who appointed them. It's called elected representation, but it's far removed from the actual members, and they like it that way.  

  I've had a few run-ins with some morons that watched too many episodes of THE SOPRANOS. I wish I had wrote down how many times that I've heard "if you know what I mean" because it's usually implied as a casual threat without making it more blunt. I have the power to drastically change their life forever, just by me being on those boards, and having the FBI at hand, not to mention what I personally would do to them. They back down pretty quick when they realize their petty threats don't work, and go the opposite route of kissing some major behinds. I'm actually trying to help them, not hurt them, but nobody likes things to change, or have their feathers ruffled a little.

Senior Advisor

Re: The influence of big labor

Has labor pension funds been bailed out to the tune of a trillion dollars like business has? Boy! you are one sided!

Senior Advisor

Re: The influence of big labor

Mr. Kraft business should have never been bailed out to the tune of a single penny. You know I was against that, I posted the numbers for the house and Senate more than once on this forum and urged everyone to call and make their views known. I called my reps every morning and even called them a couple of times from the combine cab. There should not have been any THOUGHT of a bail out before there was a full investigation into why it was needed and just where any money would go.

Veteran Advisor

Re: pensions r3020

  The union or any employee of it, or even ANY member, never sees or touches the pension funds. The checks are mailed to a third-party administrator that divides up the money for various things like health insurance and such, and then forwards it to the pension fund management company. Each month during the third week, I mail a form with all the employees hours worked by each employee with their corresponding pin number to that office. The employees have a year to date amount of hours on each paycheck stub, and the match that to the statement from the administrator, and also to their statement from the pension fund manager.


  The money that is for political purposes comes from their monthly dues, which are minimal. Some of each members dues is forwarded to the higher regulating bodies in the form of per capita amounts. They have the right to request reimbursement of their portion of dues that are used for political purposes IF THEY SO CHOOSE TO.

Veteran Advisor

Re: The influence of big labor

  The only way ANY pension funds get bailed out is because some company or corporation didn't pat their obligated amounts that the same company or corporation contractually agreed to and signed.

  It's really not an option, because most if not all unions require a bond for new businesses to ensure that the funds ARE paid, and on time too.

  Any "bailout' for pensions comes from a fund called the PBGC, and here's a link to explain what they actually do pay for.

  But it doesn't compare to the multi-billion dollar amounts that come from the taxpayers every year that go to farmers, and never will.

Senior Advisor

Re: pensions r3020

If they are TOLD to choose to.



This is just a bit heavy handed, even from the thugs at SEIU:

Imagine the outcry if McDonalds executives demanded that franchise owners collect "voluntary" contributions totaling $25,000 for the company's Political Action Committee (PAC) from employees at every restaurant.

What if the fast food titan's headquarters followed up with a threat - pay us, or face a $37,500 fine? Do you think this heavy-handed scheme would raise a few eyebrows at the Federal Election Commission (FEC)?

Replace "McDonalds" with "SEIU" in that description and you've got a pretty good idea of Big Labor's latest political fundraising strategy. To meet their ambitious fundraising targets, Service Employees International Union bosses are now threatening to fine any local affiliate that doesn't meet its PAC contribution requirements.

The only problem with this racket is that FEC guidelines explicitly prohibit organizations from collecting PAC funds by threatening members with financial reprisals. SEIU bosses aren't exactly hiding their intentions, either - they actually wrote this fundraising provision into the union's constitution at their annual convention.

Despite a complaint filed by the Right to Work Foundation with the FEC, the union appears to have gotten away with their fund raising skulduggery.

How they did it is an object lesson in power politics. When unions run the government, we get this kind of powerplay by an agency supposedly independent of politics:

Although the FEC dismissed the Foundation's complaint in April, Foundation attorneys were only notified of the decision 23 days after the fact. Adding insult to injury, the FEC finally got around to releasing the reasoning behind its dismissal in August, 111 days after the original decision was made.

Coincidentally, all FEC appeals must be filed within 60 days of any ruling. By delaying its announcement and only releasing its reasoning until well after the window period had expired, the FEC effectively made it impossible to appeal the decision to federal court.

Thus endeth the lesson. Now sit down, shut up, and take it.

Veteran Advisor

Re: pensions r3020

  You're hilarious. How would anybody know about it if it was true, or how could they prove that?????????? It's no different than knowing what internal memos are about in any given company. They made a baseless claim, that they pulled out of their behind, just to smear them. On top of that, they(SEIU) already has the power to just increase the amount that a local pays to them in per capita, so why would they bother to take the long route to "fine" them??????

  Where the heck do you dig up those goofy right wing blogs from???????????


   I like the "thugs" slur, it proves that you know absolutely nothing about what you are claiming, because SEIU is mostly low skill service jobs held by mostly women.

Senior Contributor

Re: pensions r3020

Speaking of pensions I came across this in today's Des Moines Register.


IPERS is the state's largest government retirement system, covering 167,700 active members and nearly 90,000 state government, city, county, public school district and other retirees.

IPERS faces $4.9 billion of unfunded actuarial liability, up from $2.7 billion a year ago. That amount, like a house loan, is amortized over a 30-year period. The increase in liability has caused concern among IPERS officials.

The Legislature agreed this year to increase contributions into IPERS by 1.5 percentage points. The employer (tax payers) will kick in 60 percent of that and workers 40 percent.


This was reported in a Register article on overtime paid out to some state employees which helps increase their IPERS retirement pay.  The article mentions, Roger Kruger retired as a state correctional officer at the Fort Dodge prison in June after almost 26 years with the state.

Kruger, 56, is collecting about $3,800 a month in IPERS benefits, he said. One of his friends, a sergeant at the prison, retired about the same time and will take home about $1,000 a month less.

The difference is almost exclusively because of overtime worked, he said.

That comes out to $45,600 a year which seems like pretty good retirement package for state corrections officer.


I'm curious how many other jobs base their retirement pay on highest salary years as opposed to on number of years of employment?  Having been pretty much self-employed most of my life I have little knowledge on how most employers base their retirement benefits.