August 4, 2015

Furloughed members may be entitled to benefits

RRB_seal_150px

In light of the recent furloughs by Union Pacific and BNSF railroads, below is a Q&A offered by the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) addressing common questions about unemployment benefits. To be eligible for unemployment benefits from the RRB, furloughed members must have had railroad earnings of at least $3,600 in 2014 and must also have [...]

How businesses created pensions to thwart unions

Buried in the $1.1 trillion spending bill that President Barack Obama signed into law is a provision that would allow the benefits of retired truckers, construction workers and others who contributed to so-called multi-employer pensions to be cut for the first time. This change — potentially affecting as many as 1.5 million current and future [...]

Survey of company execs: U.S. pay likely to stagnate

WASHINGTON – U.S. workers face a dim future, with stagnant or falling pay and fewer openings for full-time jobs. That’s the picture that emerges from a survey of Harvard Business School alumni. More than 40 percent of the respondents foresee lower pay and benefits for workers. Roughly half favor outsourcing work over hiring staffers. A [...]

Short-term disability insurance for rail members

The SMART Transportation Division has renewed its contract, effective July 1, 2013, with Anthem Life Insurance Co. to provide a group voluntary short-term disability plan for all rail members. Coverage will continue to be automatic unless members choose to waive coverage or “opt-out.” The Anthem rail disability insurance plan provides a basic “safety net” of [...]

Pay, benefits keys to better bus safety

Calvin Studivant

By Calvin StudivantAlternate vice president, Bus Department Fatigue management was a topic of significant importance earlier this month at a National Transportation Safety Board forum I attended in Washington, D.C. The troubling news from the forum is that non-union bus operators, employed by so-called low-cost carriers, are being forced to work too many hours, with [...]

Rail Retirement, Social Security benefits go electronic

Effective May 1, Social Security and Railroad Retirement checks for new recipients no longer will be mailed. Instead, all benefits payments — retirement, survivor and disability — will go electronically to the recipients’ bank accounts via electronic direct deposit. Those already receiving Social Security and Railroad Retirement benefits via check through the postal service will [...]

Don’t let them fool you about Railroad Retirement

An opinion article recently published by the Financial Times and Fox News, written by conservative financial columnist Liz Peek, takes a nasty and incorrect swipe at Railroad Retirement, saying Railroad Retirement should be eliminated and folded into Social Security. The argument begins with a major falsehood — that Railroad Retirement is costing the American taxpayer. [...]

RRB adjusts withholding for 140,000 annuitants

The Railroad Retirement Board reports it has adjusted benefits — effective with February benefits checks — for more than 140,000 beneficiaries to reflect new federal income tax withholding rates. The new rates comply with provisions of the congressionally passed Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010. The new rates apply to [...]

SS, Rail Retirement benefits go electronic

Come May 1, Social Security and Railroad Retirement checks for new recipients no longer will be mailed. The Social Security Administration and the Railroad Retirement Board are going paperless — sending payment electronically (direct deposit) to those receiving retirement, disability and survivor benefits. Those already receiving Social Security and Railroad Retirement benefits will have until March [...]

Lawmakers change; our mission does not

James Stem

By James Stem,UTU National Legislative Director With the election over, change has come to Washington. Since 2001, the congressional political majority has shifted three times. New majorities are nothing new to our UTU legislative team. While most UTU-endorsed candidates were re-elected, we did lose friends with whom we had long and positive relationships. Thankfully, the [...]