By Elanor Laise
After a long, loud battle, the victory has come quietly. Over the past few months, deposits have started appearing in the accounts of former truckers, iron workers and other retirees across the country–restoring pension benefits that these people had earned after decades working some of America’s most back-breaking jobs, only to have them ripped away in their retirement years.
The restored benefits started flowing earlier this year to retired union workers from New Jersey to California and have accelerated this spring and summer, hitting the accounts of some retired truckers in March, Cleveland iron workers in June, and some transportation-industry retirees in July. They are the crowning achievement of a nearly decade-long grassroots campaign by retirees in troubled multiemployer pension plans, which are negotiated between unions and employers and cover nearly 11 million people in construction, trucking, manufacturing and other industries.