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Has the ILA's pension fund been ripped off?

May 7, 2004 | Page 4

Dear Socialist Worker,
I read your article on the Internet involving Union Labor Life Insurance Co. (ULLICO) corruption (SW, April 12, 2002). My father and other retirees here in New Orleans have formed an organization called the New Orleans ILA (International Longshoreman's Association) Pensioners' Association.

This organization was formed in order to get old-timers a cost-of-living increase. We have run into all sorts of obstacles.

The pension fund has paid over $860,000 in premiums to ULLICO. We found that somewhat disturbing after reading your article. This pension fund was over $500 million strong at one time. Now the old retirees are receiving as little as $200 a month.

At one time, this union had over 5,000 members who contributed to this fund. They started this plan, and they should benefit just as much as anyone else from it.

We understand that there are Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) laws about employee contributions and number of years, but there should be some sort of adjustment for those who retired early with the same number of years, or who were forced to retire because of injury on the job.

There have been retirement parties given from this fund, and trips and raises given to other individuals, but nothing for the retirees. We are getting ready to organize picket lines to ask for an increase.
Nidtreas Bailey, New Orleans

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