The General Electric Pension Plan pays a lifetime monthly benefit to retirees, generally starting at age 65, based on a combination of earnings history and length of service, according to GEProxy.com. The company previously offered subsidies towards the cost of retiree health care and life insurance, but in 2015 it engaged in bargaining with its unions over plans to cut back on the supplemental benefits, according to United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America.
In 2015, GE signed a four-year contract with unions that preserved many benefits but cut out the health insurance subsidy for workers who don't turn 65 by 2018, as reported by the Fiscal Times. In addition, it reduced retiree life insurance subsidies for workers who retire between Jan. 1, 2016 and June 23, 2019, and eliminated it altogether for people who retire afterward. Under the terms of the contract, workers still accumulate monthly pension benefits and the company agreed to make no changes to the plan until at least 2023, reports UEUnion.org.
People who were already retired from GE were not covered by the union bargaining and lost their health care subsidy on Jan. 1, 2015, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
In 2011, GE closed enrollment in the pension plan, and all newly hired employees have a 401(k) retirement plan in its place, reports Forbes.