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From the very beginning, we have pointed out that the fight over pensions wasn’t just about new hires, that it was part of a corporate plan to do away with pensions altogether, including those of people now working at Lockheed and even current retirees. We’ve outlined in our flyers that in future negotiations they would try to freeze the plan, then terminate it and sell it to an insurance company.
Well, an article on the website Pensions and Investments yesterday shows the future if we don’t fight tooth and nail to keep our pension for everyone. From the article:
A new day is seen dawning in pension derisking as a result of General Motors Co.'s purchase of a multibillion-dollar group annuity contract to cover future benefit obligations of retirees in its U.S. salaried defined benefit plan.
And it's a day for which insurance companies have spent years planning, in hopes a company with a large pension plan would make this move.
Sources said pension executives at large plans have looked into pension buyouts in recent years, but were hesitant to become the first. Compounding the indecision is the fact that a low funded status coupled with low interest rates makes it a costly proposition.
And who might be interested in getting into the business? Who else:
ING Investment Management, for example, is seriously considering entering the market and should decide in the next few months, said Seth Finkelstein, New York-based senior vice president, client portfolio manager and head of investment services.
“Other insurance companies not currently in the business are probably going through the same thing we are,” he said.
And the final kicker:
As for which pension plans should do pension buyouts, “it makes a lot more sense for frozen plans where the liabilities aren't growing,” said Scott Campion, New York-based senior manager in the Americas insurance practice at Oliver Wyman.
This fight was never just about the new hires. Remember, if the plan goes to annuities and at any point in the future the insurance company goes down, you could lose EVERYTHING, your pension checks would stop, and no one can help you. That shows EXACTLY why we must keep our plan strong with new hires being included, so we can keep it intact for decades to come.
Our pension fight is very important, along with the health insurance issues. We are fighting for everyone’s future.