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Health and welfare benefits can be cut via bankruptcy. They can elect to put their pension funds into a PBGC receivership and get rid of the obligations all together.
Pensions were a tool used by Unions and Management to achieve certain objectives in the past, such as the continuation of production in the case of the car companies. Essentially both parties knew these obligations would come due and they would in the end be unsustainable, they did not care at the time. Most of the people who ended up negotiating those benefits such as Ron Gettlefinger, are long retired.
If they push the cost onto the PBGC, the pension beneficiaries get cents on a dollar. The lack of planning on the part of beneficiaries is their own problem, do not rely on government or private enterprise to care for your well-being long after you've completed service in industry for them. You are ultimately responsible for your own self care.
I have cases of employees who go without health insurance due to cost, and get hit by a truck due to their own negligence, riding a bike the wrong way on a two way street in violation of traffic laws, and not wearing a helmet yet they expect the state or someone else to pick up the tab.
If hospitals were smart, they would execute wage garnishments for these type of people, since their gross negligence led to the accident in the first place, and if they failed to pay they should throw them in prison, since they are essentially stealing services from hospitals.