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View Diary: This week in the War on Workers: Judge lets coal company dump retiree health benefits (73 comments)

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  •  We should create a "Medicare Hardship"... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, Calamity Jean

    ...for people like those abandoned by Peabody Coal and many others in the same boat.

    Yes, I know that from a certain perspective it would create a "moral hazard" (funny how those are overwhelmingly cited by the Very Serious People when lives of ordinary people are on the line) of encouraging other "Multinationals" to divest themselves of Retired Employee benefits, but that divestment is proceeding apace in the absence of that "incentive."

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 11:22:23 AM PDT

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    •  Bull (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina, Odysseus

      Why should my taxes pay for Peabody's liabilities?
      Why isn't this a case for the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp?

      And I hope someone can go after Peabody on this!

      Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

      by Helpless on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 12:51:50 PM PDT

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      •  No company should be permitted (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        417els, Hillbilly Dem, Odysseus

        to shrug off the pensions of its workers. That liability should be paid before any executive salaries, perks, stock options, or other perks are paid out. It should be a matter of law. Promised pensions are a part of a worker's reimbursement for his/her labor.

        It is theft to deny a pension, especially while CEOs are paid obscenely because, after all, it is in their contracts, which somehow legally hold more sway than the contracts with those who actually labor.

        Without labor, there is no profit--the 'owners' have nothing. It is time the so-called upper class is reminded of this simple fact.

        •  Legally both are on par. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marina

          There is a heirarchy of who must be paid in bankruptcy claims.

          Generally, it looks like:
          Employees and suppliers
          Bond holders
          Preferred Stock holders
          Common Stock holders

          Both executive salary and worker salary are at a pretty high priority.

          Investopedia.com: Superiority in the Event of Liquidation

          Superiority in the Event of Liquidation

              Preferred stockholders have precedence over common stockholders in the event of liquidation.
              Bondholders always have precedence over preferred stockholders from a dividend and liquidation point of view.
              Unlike bondholders, preferred stockholders cannot force a company into bankruptcy.

          The only question for pension funds should be whether they were adequately funded under ERISA:
          DOL.gov: Fact Sheet: Your Employer's Bankruptcy - How Will It Affect Your Employee Benefits?
          Generally, your pension assets should not be at risk when a business declares bankruptcy, because ERISA requires that promised pension benefits be adequately funded and that pension monies be kept separate from an employer’s business assets and held in trust or invested in an insurance contract. Thus, if an employer declares bankruptcy, the retirement funds should be secure from the company’s creditors. In addition, plan fiduciaries must comply with the ERISA provisions that prohibit the mismanagement and abuse of plan assets. If contributions to a plan have been withheld from your pay, you may want to confirm that the amounts deducted have been forwarded to the plan’s trust or insurance contract.
          Corporate bankruptcy should be a non event for pensioners.  That's the letter of the law right now.

          -7.75 -4.67

          "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

          There are no Christians in foxholes.

          by Odysseus on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 04:42:07 PM PDT

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          •  Bankruptcy hierarchy (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Odysseus, marina

            It may look like payments to employees is at the top of the list, but the way it often works is,
            Company declares bankruptcy
            Workers find that their last paycheck bounces, and the employer hasn't been paying premiums on the health insurance or transferring money to the 401Ks. Doctors are now looking to collect from the workers who had thought they were covered.
            Years later, they get reimbursed for the last paycheck, after the bankruptcy has been finalized.
            There is no chance for severance pay, and if the workers didn't have a lawyer at court, the 401K money is iffy.
            I have heard various stories like this. For example read To Move a Mountain by Eve Weinbaum.

      •  Understand your point (0+ / 0-)

        But what I want to know is why can't these folks see that voting for the GOP is voting against their own best interest.  I'm not much on coal or fossil fuels as an energy source, but this really pisses me off to see workers treated like something to be used until the job takes its toll on their health.  Anythings fair game as long as it comes out in the company's favor when it comes to the bottom line.  
        These companies know that these workers don't have much choice and are mostly trying to survive and feed their families.
        One would think a real progressive could convince these voters that standing up for workers rights is a lot more important than whatever horseshit that the GOP can dish out about freedom and the right to work.  What they really mean is the freedom to get screwed by companies like Peabody Coal.

        Mr. Boehner, where are the jobs?

        by Tx LIberal on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 07:11:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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