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Joint letter to Congress on threats posed by proposed "composite" multiemployer pension plans (September 8, 2016)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

the Pension Rights Center joined with retiree and labor organizations by sending a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives expressing extreme opposition to draft legislation that would create a new type of pension plan called a “composite” multiemployer plan. This draft legislation would substantially weaken the funding status of currently-existing multiemployer plans, putting at risk the pensions of retirees participating in these plans. The Center strongly opposes any attempt by National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans (NCCMP) and its allies to push through legislation in yet another year-end backroom deal.

The letter raises concerns that the draft legislation would weaken rather than strengthen multiemployer plan funding and would jeopardize retiree pensions. The draft legislation reduces annual funding obligations and, in some circumstances, relieves employers of future financial obligations when withdrawing from underfunded multiemployer plans. The proposal would effectively increase deficits in the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s Multiemployer Insurance Program and would result in lost premiums for new employees covered by the so-called “composite” plans.    

In addition to the Pension Rights Center, the letter was signed by AARP, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the National Retirees Legislative Network, the United Steelworkers, and the Western Conference of Teamsters.  It is our understanding that the NCCMP lobbyists promoting this composite bill contend that there is no opposition to this draft legislation. Our letter clearly demonstrates that this assertion is wrong.