Until her death five years ago, Agnes Battaglino earned only $200 a month from her late husband’s pension from the General Electric Co.
The paltry sum represented half her husband’s pension and was hardly a consolation for the widowed homemaker, considering the cost of living in 2001, her son Joe recalled. But the purse strings on GE’s multi-billion dollar pension fund remained tight, right up until her death.
“How do you survive on that?” he asked outside the GE plant today. “It used to upset me tremendously.”
Now Battaglino —a third generation worker at the company —is facing his own retirement. And he’s wondering how his more than four decades of paying into the pension fund will translate for him once he leaves the company in June.
Battaglino joined hundreds of GE workers and retirees who rallied today for increased pension payments. Led by Helen Quiruni, longtime president of the IUE/CWA Local 301 retirees, the rally marked the 28th time the group has called for GE to increase pension allotments from the roughly $55.5 billion fund.
The rally is among many planned throughout the country and advances the company’s shareholder meeting next week in Pennsylvania. Retirees are asking GE for an annual cost of living adjustment and a guaranteed minimum pension benefit for all retirees.
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