Pandemic May Spur Retirements Among Not-So-Old New Yorkers

Some unions and political leaders are seeking to make the hard choices a bit easier. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which represents workers at Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, has many older members who have worked for a long time. These workers, says union president Stuart Appelbaum “are, of course, more likely to suffer severe effects from COVID.” So when stores began making plans to reopen to brick and mortar customers, the union “made it important to take into account older workers for whom it may not be safe to go back to work,” he says. The two department stores agreed to transition packages to make it easier for employees to retire early, Appelbaum said. In general, workers retiring at 55 and over with at least 15 years on the job—who tend to make more money than younger employees—can receive one week of pay for every year of service up to 26 weeks. Those under 65, and so too young for Medicare, will still have to find health insurance. Despite that, Appelbaum says many workers have opted for payments, although the union did not have specific numbers. 

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