Letters to the Business Editor
Retirement benefits are not the property of the corporations
The recent contract talks between Local 5 (the Hotel and Restaurant Workers) and the huge multilateral corporations stirred some very strong feelings on a personal level. It seems like just yesterday but it was really in the mid 1960s when my father's union retirement pension was cut at the time I was graduating from high school. All of a sudden, the money that Mom and Dad had planned for my college education was history -- gone.
My dad was a very hard worker. His work ethic was outstanding. He had worked for his pension and he earned it. What a shock to find out that Dad and Mom ended up with limited means for his retirement years!
Not only did his cut in retirement benefits affect them, but my college years as well.
Some 32 years after my high school graduation, I finally earned my college degree. Unfortunately, my parents never lived to see me graduate from college. According to projection charts, I would have earned at a minimum approximately $20,000 more each year if I had a college degree. In other words, $640,000 is the difference between what I could have earned with a college degree and what I earned without a college education.
When corporations start cutting benefits, they need to understand the present effect and the long-term effect of those cuts on the workers and their families.
In reality, the compensation belongs to the workers for working all those years. Retirement benefits are calculated on time worked. They are not gifts or handouts. These retirement benefits are not the property of the corporations and should not be treated as such.
Carolyn Martinez Golojuch