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Two-Tiered Retirement Threatens Already-Weakened Union Pensions

Nov. 18, 2021, 6:49 PM

Union-brokered pension plans hang in the balance this year amid a historic dash to the picket lines that has coaxed thousands of U.S. workers to demand better wages and working conditions.

To make ends meet after pandemic-related shutdowns, major employers such as Deere & Co. and Kellogg Co. have attempted to split their retirement benefits into tiers that preserve pensions for legacy workers while dumping new hires into riskier 401(k)s.

John Deere and Kellogg workers at several Midwestern manufacturing facilities rejected tentative agreements that would have splintered their retirement savings platforms. Yet the multi-tiered benefits strategy remains a popular method ...