In a case that will have implications for truck carriers, The Supreme Court said Monday it will decide if employers can cut back on pensions for some people who retire early from one job and then work in the same industry, a situation common in the trucking industry.
The case is seen as a balance between workers’ rights and employers’ efforts at reigning in the rising costs of benefits in industries which traditionally have ‘pooled’ these benefits.
The case before the court involves two construction workers in Illinois who were eligible for full retirement benefits when they retired in 1996 at age 39. Both men took jobs as construction supervisors – they were allowed to collect their pension and their current salary – but the Central Laborers' Pension Fund changed the rules in 1998 and told the men that they could not draw a pension while working in the construction industry. The two men appealed the ‘double dipping’ prohibition.
The high court will decide the men’s benefits in this specific instance where rules were changed after the fact, but it will have a wider effect on pension and other benefits which are commonly pooled by employers in certain industries such as trucking, construction, mining, retail and manufacturing.
The court is expected to hear the case by summer.