Pensions Secured for Long Beach IAM Members

More than 3,600 IAM members employed by the City of Long Beach, CA recently voted to ratify a landmark proposal that provides significant savings for the city while preserving existing pension benefits for members. The agreement also extends the current contract by one year and includes a no-layoff clause for the remainder of the accord.

In a joint statement with Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, IAM Western Territory Grand Lodge Representative Ray Rivera praised the members for protecting their hard-won pensions while providing much needed savings for the City of Long Beach, which is facing a $10.9 million shortfall for fiscal year 2014.

“I’m very proud of the members for stepping up to the plate in these difficult economic times,” said Rivera. “With a majority of our membership residing in Long Beach, we were pleased to be able to come to an agreement that benefits our members, the city and the community with an estimated savings of more than $125 million through 2023.”

This agreement provides ongoing annual savings of approximately $3.8 million in the General Fund and $11.8 million in all funds. Through Fiscal Year 2023, the amendment is projected to save the City an estimated $40.1 million in the General Fund and $125.5 million in all funds.

“Today’s vote means savings of $11.8 million dollars next year and creates a more sustainable system for the future,” said Long Beach Mayor Foster. “I thank each of the city employees who voted for these reforms and applaud the IAM leadership for their efforts.”

“This agreement highlights the value of aggressive collective bargaining as well as the importance the IAM places on protecting our members’ pensions,” said Western Territory GVP Gary Allen. “Even in difficult times, there are solutions to be found that protect the most important interests on both sides of the bargaining table.”

The importance of protecting traditional defined benefit pension was further illuminated in a January 15 front page article in the Washington Post. According to the article, more than one in four American workers with 401(k) retirement accounts are draining their 401(k)-type accounts to pay current expenses.