May 2, 2005
The Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC), says it could run out of money. If that's true, this government agency better blame itself. It hasn't required companies to keep their pension plans fully funded, and it doesn't tax them enough to cover the losses they expect.
It's nothing but an invitation for some of the biggest corporations in the country to declare bankruptcy so they can strip workers of their pensions – and then continue right on in business. And that's exactly what they've done.
Caterpillar was one of the first big corporations to attack its workers this way many years ago. Since that time, the steel bosses have stripped tens of thousands of steelworkers of their company pensions and health insurance, as one big steel corporation after another cooked its books and got the OK of federal judges to junk all their contract obligations to workers. Some of these corporations merged, or were bought out by other steel companies. But in one way or another, they went on operating as usual. Today, they are very profitable.
More recently, the airline bosses have been pulling the same phoney bankruptcy maneuvers to cheat their workers out of their pensions, health care and other benefits, similar to what most steel bosses have done.
And now we hear rumbles that the big auto companies are thinking of doing the same thing.
During the past 20 years, over 2,000 pension plans that were terminated due to "bankruptcy" – mostly larger ones – were dumped onto the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation.
This is part of a bigger move to dump pensions for all workers. The number of private defined-benefit pension plans has already dropped from about 112,000 such plans in the mid-1980s to only about 30,000 plans today.
Corporate robbers and government officials work hand in hand to do their dirty work against the workers. And so do many top union officials, who have known for years what the corporations and government officials have been up to. They monitored the plans; they saw that the plans were underfunded. Year after year, they turned a blind eye.
The unions are supposed to be the watch dogs for the workers of their pension money. Instead many union leaders have proved themselves to be the lap dogs of the bosses!