Thursday, March 17, 2011

Public-sector unions claim outsized share of U.S. pension assets

More than a third of the nation’s $9.3 trillion in pension assets belong to state and local government employees, even though they make up only 15 percent of the U.S. work force, a study shows.

Research by the Spectrum investment group found that public-sector employees, primarily through powerful unions, have accumulated by far the most generous retirement programs in the country. Meanwhile, many private-sector workers have had their retirement plans cut back and have had to delay retirement.

Even with $3.4 trillion set aside to pay public pensions, dozens of strapped state and local governments are struggling to make payments. Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida are calling on state employees for the first time to contribute to their retirement plans the way workers do in the private sector.

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