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pension document explanation and provisions

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well, I figured my 6000th post might as well be as bad as I can think of, so here goes...


Our story concerns a retirement plan, and the union and all that nasty stuff that could go along when you get those folks involved.

It involves one of the Fortune 500 Companies, the union approached management and insisted that they put in a plan everyone could be happy with – sort of like Obamacare, but dealing with retirement and not medical or something like that. This is after all a website dedicated to retirement. Just simply some plan that everyone would voluntarily sign up for, 100% of all employees because then the union would know it was great. Of course if but just one person dissented they would go on strike.

So management sat down, worked out a great proposal and presented it to the union bosses. They looked it over, it looked fantastic.

At retirement there would be annuities or installments or lump sums. There were even a variety of early lump sum window provisions. Along with a bunch of other great stuff.

The document was clear, the SPD easily understood, wouldn’t cost the employees a cent. Initial sign was going great; this was so good looked like it was only going to take days to get everyone to sign up into the plan.

Then, in stepped “Fred”. I won’t use the actual name simply to avoid offending anyone’s nationality.  Perhaps being from ‘the old country’ he had gotten burned on similar ‘good deals’. But he refused to sign. And you’d think if only 1 out of over 100,000 employees didn’t sign that would be ok, but the union figured if they back down on this they would look weak, and who knows what else would happen.

They tried hard – they sat down with Fred, went through the document, the SPD and other handouts, explaining everything to him. It simply was a good deal at no cost to him. Even fellow employees encouraged him to sign. Still he refused to sign. Finally, what must have been the 415th attempt at this they gave up. Even they had reached their limit.

So despite not wanting to, it looked like there was a chance of a strike.

Everyone was worried, no one wanted this. Finally the boss called Fred up to the office. Fred entered executive headquarters, walked past a fantastic fountain in the lobby. Popped into the elevator, the operator rode him up to the top floor. Fred walked out, past huge plate glass windows offering a fantastic and scenic view of the countryside. Down the hallway, thick lush carpeting.  The secretary- couldn’t have been over 25, young, attractive, admitted Fred to the boss’s office and shut the door behind him, leaving him alone with the boss. On the table was the document, the SPD and everything else, including the last remaining unsigned signature card.

The boss asked “Is there something you don’t understand about this?” and “Is there something wrong with it?, what can we possibly do to make it better?”

And Fred responded, “I think I understand it clearly. Others have explained it to me, but I’m simply not going to sign”

At this, the boss lost his temper. “Fred”, he began, “I didn’t get to be who I am today by letting people push me around. Now either you sign up or I am going to take you and throw you through the window. And then I am not going to be happy because I will have to have the window repaired, in addition to whatever lump of you remains below!”

Fred walked over and looked out the window. He looked at the table with the material. He looked out the window again. Then he signed the card.

As he was leaving, the boss asked him, “Now that wasn’t so bad. But why didn’t you sign before and we could have avoided all this.”

And Fred responded “No one mentioned or described to me how the pension lump-sum window provision worked the way you did.”

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