November 16, 2023
The UAW strike against Big Auto succeeded in winning impressive wage gains, but it failed to obtain a little-reported demand: that the auto companies reinstate defined benefit pension plans for new employees that had been suspended as a concession during the 2008 Great Recession.
Instead, as a consolation prize the auto companies offered and the unions took larger company payments to employee 401(k) plans.
This was a significant loss for newer workers who were not grandfathered into the preexisting pension plans. They will receive employer contributions that will rise to ten percent of salary. While that is significantly higher than what most 401(k) plan participants receive from their employers, it will fall far short of what would be needed to provide retirement income equivalent to that of a pension plan. That would require contributions of twenty-five to thirty percent of salary. Put differently, they will receive one-third to one-half of what workers with equivalent careers received from pension plans. Click here to read more.