By federal law pensions are vested after either 6 or 7 years, I can't remember which. If you worked "dozens of years", you have pension benefits coming when you reach retirement age whether you are union or not.
Sorry about including you in the reply Kaslin, I thought I was including the O.P., “Cincinatus’ Wife”.
Pensions are locked in after 5 years.
What? Am I on trial now just because I don’t believe in RTW? So you are picking my post apart piece by piece. My how clever you are Sir. Definition of vesting is “nonforfeitable ownership (or partial ownership) by an employee of the retirement account balances or benefits contributed on the employees behalf by an employer”. Vesting after 6 years with an employer gets you maybe fifty bucks a month for six months. When you’ve amassed 25 or 30 years with a company then your pension is relatively substantial. That is the opportunity I and others were denied. So don’t play Human Resources word games with me.