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Joellen Leavelle's Posts

The Office gets a 401(k) reality check

It isn't uncommon to hear people comparing NBC's hit television show, The Office, to their own workplaces.  Many of the events on the show mirror what happens in offices across the country.  But for many people last night's episode hit a little too close to home.

The Big 100: A somber milestone

Earlier this week, the Pension Rights Center's list of companies that have suspended their 401(k) matching contributions reached 100.

The test of time

In my work here at the Pension Rights Center, one of my responsibilities is to update the list of companies that have suspended matching 401(k) contributions. This week I've had to add more than 15 companies to this list. Even worse, some of these companies are suspending matching 401(k) contributions and freezing their traditional pensions, leaving more and more workers out in the cold.

Taking a few steps back

A new report from the Congressional Research Service shows that we still have a long way to go when it comes to ensuring that American workers are covered by workplace retirement plans.

In fact, we've taken a few steps back.

Leveling the playing field

Today, President Obama signed three executive orders aimed at "leveling the playing field" for workers and the labor movement.  We at the Pension Rights Center have a few ideas of our own on how President Obama can level the playing field when it comes to the nation's retirement income system.

A history of pensions in six minutes

The two stars of this entertaining video give us their unique - and accurate - take on the history of pensions and what led companies to ask for pension funding relief in the financial bailout.

Three companies do "the right thing"

It isn't every day you that hear a company say that providing a 401(k) match is the "right thing to do" for its employees. Nope, you don't hear it that often - especially during an economic downturn that many have compared to the Great Depression. So, when I heard that Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group reinstated matching contributions to its employees' 401(k) accounts, I took notice.

A 401(k) lesson learned

Some employers may have learned a lesson from the collapse of Enron and its devastating impact on the 401(k) accounts of its workers and retirees.  For years, Enron had matched employee contributions to their 401(k) plans with employer stock, instead of matching their contributions with money that the employees could invest themselves.  Even worse, Enron employees were prohibited from selling the company stock in their 401(k)s until they turned 50.  When the company went bankrupt, the stock lost nearly all of its value.  As a result, Enron employees and retirees lost a great deal of their retirement savings.

401(k) regrets

Some teachers in West Virginia have learned the hard way that traditional pensions end up paying better benefits than 401(k)-type plans.

New report makes the case against pension freezes

Look Before You Leap: The Unintended Consequences of Pension Freezes, a new issue brief from the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS), makes the case for why pension freezes aren't always a good idea for state and local governments.

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