February 27,2003: In the Western Conference Pension Plan, each year you work, and your employer makes contributions to the plan, your pension benefit grows. The amount it grows is easy to calculate, once you know these facts:
- What does your employer contribute, per hour, as specified in your contract;
- How many credited hours did you have for the year (many contracts do not include overtime hours, and have a 2,080 limit);
- Are you covered by “PEER 80” or 82 or 84 early retirement?
- How many years have you been in the pension plan (more or less than 20)?
- What is the multiplier that the pension fund is applying for that year? This last point is where the big pension cut comes in.
Example: Your contract provides for $3.90 per hour employer pension contributions. You are covered by PEER 80. You were credited with 2,000 hours for the year. You’ve worked under the plan for 22 years.
2,000 hours times $3.90 equals $7,800 paid into the fund on your behalf. But you must buy your PEER 80 by reducing this amount by 16.5 percent. That leaves $6,695. Now, you simply multiply that by the multiplier to get your pension benefit raise for the year. If the multiplier is 2.65 percent, the historic base level, you would get $173 added to your monthly pension benefit for a year’s work. But, with the big cut down to 1.2 percent, you will get only $78 added to your monthly pension. That’s a huge cut in your pension benefits.