NewsLocal NewsCleveland Metro


More pension plans in Ohio on verge of collapse

Unions ask Treasury Dept. to slash benefits
Posted at 5:57 PM, Jul 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-27 17:57:30-04

The financial future for tens of thousands of people in the Buckeye State is looking bleak. This, as three more multi-employer pension plans in Ohio ask the Treasury Department for permission to reduce benefits to prevent insolvency.

Their requests are currently under review.

It’s fallout from a nationwide cash-flow crisis that's been brewing for decades. Hundreds of retirees are already feeling the pinch here in Northeast Ohio.

Ironworkers Union 17 was the first in the country to get approval to slash benefits.

As lawmakers race to solve this complex issue, a retired ironworker worries his struggles will soon be a reality for so many others.

Sitting on the porch reading the paper, it's the simple things Larry Burruel appreciates in retirement.

"Every holiday there is I missed because I had to work," said Burruel.

However, the paper he's holding is dropped off by a neighbor each day after he reads it because Burruel can no longer afford a subscription.

"We have to be very careful with our money," said Burruel.

The ironworker's pension was cut nearly 60% in a move by his union to save the retirement plan.

"There's a bunch of unions in trouble," said Burruel.

The latest figures show there are currently 130 multiemployer pension plans in financial trouble. More than 60,000 retirees in Ohio are at risk.

"They're going to get blasted just like I did," said Burruel.

It's a tough reality for the 70-year old to accept.

"Every day I get out of bed I think about it," said Burruel.

The scar on his left leg and the missing tip on one finger are constant reminders of the career that took its toll on his body.

"It was fun," said Burruel.

Burruel worked on some of Cleveland's biggest projects over the years.

Helping construct the Rock Hall and Brown's Stadium.

While those buildings remain intact, the same cannot be said for Burruel's finances.

"I don't know where I'm going to come up with the money to get a new car," said Burruel.

It's a position the retiree said he never thought he'd be in. Forced to make sacrifices after doing so for decades.

"I missed every Christmas, I missed every New Years, I missed every Easter, every Thanksgiving. I worked hard. I worked hard for my pension," said Burruel.