WASHINGTON – Retirees covered by financially troubled multiemployer pensions could soon see their benefits cut under a $1.1 trillion congressional spending deal to keep the government running.
Architects of the proposal said it was the best way to keep the pension plans viable and benefits flowing to retirees.
“We have a plan here that first and foremost works for the members of the unions, the workers in these companies and it works for the companies,” said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., who worked the deal out with Rep. John Kline, R-Minn.
But it quickly drew fire from some labor unions and AARP, who denounced what they call backroom deal-making that will create hardships for older Americans.
Roughly 150 people died from work-related illness or injury per day in 2011, according to a new report the AFL-CIO released on Tuesday. Fatal workplace injuries claimed 13 lives per day, while work-related illness and disease killed an additional 137 people daily.
Although occupational fatality rates have trended downward in the years since the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, the gradual improvement of workplace safety seems to have halted in recent years.
“After years of steady decline, for the past three years the job fatality rate has essentially been unchanged,” according to the report.