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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Retirement bill still awaits president's signature


President Bush yesterday didn't sign into law Railroad Retirement and Survivors' Improvement Act of 2001 (H.R. 10) — as expected by rail union officials — "due to evolving world events," according to a Dec. 20 United Transportation Union-prepared statement.
UTU officials believe the president still might sign the bill Dec. 21, but national events — and the Christmas holiday — could postpone the signing until late next week.
If signed by the president, the legislation will provide full retirement annuity at age 60 (instead of age 62) after 30 years of service, eliminate artificial caps on benefits, establish new-employee vesting in the Railroad Retirement System after five years (instead of 10 years), and raise a widow’s Tier II annuities to equal those paid by Social Security (current law sets a widow’s Tier II annuity at 50 percent of a retiree’s Tier II annuity).
The law also would allow the retirement system to invest the railroad pension in a mix of public and private securities.