The article reports:
…Multi-employer plans in the U.S. are underfunded by some $369 billion. An estimated $43 billion of that off-balance-sheet liability belongs to the 44 S&P 500 companies that are exposed to multi-employer plans. The other 88% of the $369 billion is borne by small, mid-cap or private firms that may be even less prepared to cover the obligations. The report says Safeway’s $6.9 billion in liabilities amount to 76% of the company’s market cap, for example.
The article points out that CEO’s and union chiefs have ignored the problem, preferring to invest in current wages and benefits rather than funding pensions. If these unfunded pensions are dumped into the Pension Guaranty Fund, the people expecting the pensions will receive a maximum of $12,800 a year–the maximum payout of the fund.
In June 2010 I posted an article (rightwinggranny.com) about the coming crisis in union retirement plans. When you consider the amount of money the unions spend on political causes, you would think they might have some they could invest to make sure their workers actually receive the benefits promised them. Right now, union pensions are a ponzi scheme (just like Social Security). That will not change until union members realize what is going on and force a change.
Just for the record, the website Open Secrets is reporting that labor PACS have contributed $28,047,761 to political campaigns this year (figures as of April 30, 2012). Of those contributions, 88% went to Democrats and 12% to Republicans.