Detroit Free Press: Marick Masters on UAW retiree benefits
Detroit Three retirees won't get their hoped-for bonus in the new UAW contract. The 2019 contract ratified by 48,000 GM workers in October did not include a retiree bonus that the company has offered in the past. In 2015, it was a one-time $500 payment for retirees. The 2019 tentative agreement facing ratification by 55,000 Ford workers also does not include a retiree bonus. In 2015, it was $250 per year for four years to retirees and $125 per year for four years for surviving spouses. "Across the board, firms have attempted to reduce their so-called legacy costs," said Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University with expertise in labor affairs. "They have replaced defined benefit plans with defined contribution plans ... Kaiser reports that only 18% of the large employers grant retiree benefits to active workers." He said, "UAW workers have either a defined benefit or defined contribution retirement plan, depending on their date of hire, and have access to the Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association for retiree health as long as this entity remains viable."