6:16 am March 7, 2011, by Henry Unger
Unemployment is at double digits in metro Atlanta and Georgia.
Unionized public workers are taking it on the chin in many states.
So was it wise for Lockheed Martin workers in Marietta to reject a strike recommended by their union leadership?
The leadership was trying to stop Lockheed from reducing the retirement plan for new workers, AJC reporter Marcus Garner writes. Instead of the more lucrative existing pension plan, new employees will get a 401(k) plan.
As best they can, unions are supposed to fight two-tier systems that treat new and existing workers differently.
What’s more, the change, which the company said it needs to remain competitive, is not small potatoes, Garner reports.
Union members said a current 30-year employee could draw nearly $730,000 in pension money over 23 years after retiring at age 55, Garner writes.
That compares with the $42,000 payout a new employee would have for retirement after the same time at the company and at the same age, Garner reports. With the 401(k) plan, Lockheed will contribute $1,400 a year for each new worker, in addition to employee contributions.
The difference wasn’t enough, however, to convince a two-thirds majority to vote to strike, Garner writes.
What do you think? Smart move or short-sighted?
Will workers at other companies face similar choices in the future?
- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat
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