Labor Head on Multiemployer Plan Bailout

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander announced last week that the panel will vote on President Trump’s pick to head the Labor Department, private sector lawyer Eugene Scalia, today, less than one week after his first nomination hearing at which he was asked directly whether he supported a bailout for multiemployer plans. His response included this zinger:
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The full Q&A was not much more informative:

39 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by skip3house on September 24, 2019 at 6:00 am

    Why the mystery? Pension funds are ‘you get what you paid for, not what is promised’

    Reply

  2. Posted by stanley on September 24, 2019 at 7:56 am

    Senator Smith: Hair today, gone tomorrow.
    Eugene Scalia, son of Antonin Scalia. Sounds like he is more likely to favor bailing out the PBGC. Probably won’t support Butch Lewis Act.

    Union truck drivers make up a small part of the 3.5M U.S. truck driver contingent, presently 2-3%. Union coal miners are less than half of U.S. coal miners. What is it that makes their well being more important than the non-union truck drivers and coal miners?
    What makes them special? Typically a non-union truck driver works twice as hard as a route driving union driver IMO.

    Reply

    • Many times the non union wages creep up as a result of the union securing better wages for themselves.
      In my town nowadays we negotiate our raises witb the town and the town does what they want for the rest of the employees. We are the only ones protected by a collective bargaining agreement.
      However, up until about 2010 or so…the town would just give the rest of the employees the same % raise they negotiated with us. The pay was of course less, we are the best paid employees in town, but the % number would be the same as us. Equal. The rest of the boro employees would take great interest in our contract negotiations. Not a one paid any association dues. Maybe if they had they wouldn’t have gotten screwed by the town and had their medical after retirement taken away if they hadn’t had 25 years in. Some guys had 23. Longevity also taken away in 2003. That’s all well and good. But they CAN’T do that to the cops. Why? Because we have a contract. The whole damn council thought they screwed us as well. They all are off the council now and a few live out of state. 3 year wonders if you will. The new council was very fair with us. They gave us free medical in exchange for giving it up for new hires and boosted our longevity in exchange for giving up for new hires. 1/1/18 and beyond newbies don’t get that. Both sides were happy witb the deal. Our two new guys? Prob not so much.

      Reply

      • *medical after retirement. I should’ve said. Now I pay 35% and new hires do as well while they are here. No one will pay anything when they retire, because it will either be free or they won’t get it.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on September 24, 2019 at 9:11 am

          I thought that the 35% rate was only for those making $110K+, the rate for those with lower income being less, and the “newbies” make a lot less than $110K.

          Reply

          • Yes. It will take a number of years with our 14 year step scale for them to reach $110,000. And thus the 35%.
            I’d hafta look and see how many. But the % goes up with every step. And most of the new guys won’t have family plans for at least the first 5 years.
            But as the $110,000 number doesn’t get indexed for inflation, that $110,000 will begin to creep closer and closer to a new hires early years.

          • I think some witb 6 years on now are at $80. I would have to double check.

        • Posted by Tough Love on September 24, 2019 at 9:13 am

          It is WAY beyond outrageous that Taxpayers fund FREE retiree healthcare for you, often starting in the low 50s.

          It there need justifications for a Taxpayer revolt, THAT is it.

          Reply

          • Town was thrilled to make the deal. What do you want me to tell you? To be honest, other departments around us are doing the same thing. It is the easiest way for the towns to remove the benefit from these contracts. For us it only affected 15 employees. They all will retire years apart. We currently have 2 that more than 20 years on in 2011. Then 15 that qualify for the deal. Then 2 that were hired without medical after retirement. Of the 15, 7 are tier 3 hires and will need to work 30 years to qualify. Most of the 7 (5) don’t have kids yet and in fact aren’t even married. They will def stay at least 30.
            It made financial sense for the town to make the deal. They were all for it.

          • And one of the 15 is leaving at the end of the year and will have medical paid for through her husbands town. He retired as a cop 20 years ago and got it free from his town. He is much older than she is. So really it is only 14 guys that will cost the town.

      • Posted by Tough Love on September 24, 2019 at 9:09 am

        That’s the problem …. your UNION buys favorable Council votes on your pay, pensions, and benefits with BRIBES disguised as campaign contributions ….. all to the detriment of your Town’s Taxpayers.

        Tell us, how much did your Union contribute to each of the current Council-member’s election campaigns?
        —————————-

        Quoting ……………..

        “They gave us free medical in exchange for giving it up for new hires and boosted our longevity in exchange for giving up for new hires. ”

        They didn’t “give” you anything. They simply ALLOWED you to GET AWAY WITH screwing the newcomers to benefits yourselves ….. because it had they financial result they were seeking.

        Why couldn’t you share…………. a bit less for you and something for them … how do you spell “moocher” ?

        Reply

        • Local contributions to local politicians from our association during the course of my career: $0. I repeat $0.
          On a state level, I’m sure the state PBA endorse and donates the maximum. Our local? Never once.
          Are you kidding? Can you imagine backing a group and then they lose? THe voters in town, and not one cop lives in the town where I work, can’t afford to, elect the council. Whether or not you believe me, I don’t care. Do you think a local PBA in a wealthy town, or any town,is going to be able to afford lining the pockets of a local councilman? You have zero proof that this happens at the local level. I can tell you at least in suburbia, the thought would be laughable.
          And as to your second point, the town was not offering and had no interest in keeping the benefit for new officers hired after 1/1/18. They wanted the benefit gone and the offer THEY made was how they did it without a fight.

          Reply

      • Posted by stanley on September 24, 2019 at 10:11 am

        “Many times the non union wages creep up as a result of the union securing better wages for themselves.”

        There is some truth in that to a very limited extent. The non-union Delta employees will make wages similar to the unionized American employees. OK? But somewhere in the economy there are workers who will earn less or be unable to find work at all. This won’t be as noticeable during periods of boom when money is extremely loose. It becomes glaringly obvious during recessions. It is also more obvious in the more rural areas where there is less economic activity.

        Reply

      • Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog! on September 24, 2019 at 1:14 pm

        Many times the non union wages creep up as a result of the union securing better wages for themselves.
        Not true today. The fact is private sector unions represent less than 7% of the workforce. Their union bargaining does not help non-union members in any appreciable way. In fact it might be the other way around today. And public sector unions do not help the private sector at all, but in fact HARM the private sector because the public unions are not in a free market economy and their 10-20 times above market comp is a result of collusion with the elected officials, not a result of “arms length bargaining”, then the resulting regressive tax hikes used to fund that 20 times above market comp is pass on to the poor and middle class, usually in the way of a sales tax, which then destroys the private sector.

        Reply

        • Posted by stanley on September 24, 2019 at 2:05 pm

          Are you saying that Delta mechanics are making wages and benefits similar to those at United or American? Southwest pays a little less but their work is a little less challenging because they only fly 737s whereas, for instance, Delta flies both Airbus and Boeing airplanes and probably all of the models. I’m not sure if they still fly 57s.

          Delta always tried to match the union pay scales so that they wouldn’t have to put up with union riffraff, grievances and so on.

          Reply

  3. Posted by skip3house on September 24, 2019 at 10:32 am

    not getting new comments, so trying this….

    Reply

  4. Posted by geo8rge on September 24, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    Butch Lewis Watch from musicians for pension security
    https://www.musiciansforpensionsecurity.com/butch-lewis-watch

    Sherrod Brown Blinks – NCCMP Wins Again (I don’t understand who NCCMP is and what their agenda is)

    https://www.musiciansforpensionsecurity.com/butch-lewis-blog/2018/9/10/sherrod-brown-blinks-nccmp-wins-again

    NCCMP refers to National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans (NCCMP)
    https://nccmp.org/about-us/

    Who belongs to NCCMP? Plans, plan sponsors, and fund professionals interested in membership can obtain a membership

    Reply

    • Posted by stanley on September 24, 2019 at 2:51 pm

      I don’t call that blinking. Does anyone really believe that later on when more plans are failing the government won’t step in and bail them out? If they can actually stand by and watch plans fail or suffer drastic reductions in benefits, great! Let’s start with the drivers and miners. It’s long past time for all of us to begin living within our means.

      It’s astonishing that this is still under discussion. I guess the walls have to come tumbling down before some lumpy types wake up to the fact that as a country our means are strictly limited.

      Reply

  5. Posted by geo8rge on September 24, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    It is (very?) uncharacteristic but the US Chamber of Commerce supports the Butch Lewis Act.

    “Financial Assistance Through Loans is a Necessary Part of Multiemployer
    Reform. The financial and demographic circumstances of certain plans will not
    allow them to survive without cash infusions. The loan program should optimize
    solvency of the plan and provide the taxpayer with confidence that the federal loan
    will be repaid.”

    Click to access multiemployer_pension_reform_principles_2018.pdf

    It may be the the US Chamber of Commerce members like the idea of Butch Lewis offering a way to withdraw from multi employer pension plans.

    Magic Bullets and the Joint Select Committee on the Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans

    https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=43b6d0bc-9022-4c3c-91b9-b879bb732313

    Reply

    • Posted by geo8rge on September 24, 2019 at 2:52 pm

      If you really want to read up on the US Ch. of Commerce’s views, I don’t have the time of inclination, this seems to be their official history of the issue.

      The Multiemployer Pension Plan Crisis: The History, Legislation, and What’s Next?

      Click to access multiemployer_report_-_chamber_-final.pdf

      Reply

    • Posted by stanley on September 24, 2019 at 2:59 pm

      “The loan program should optimize solvency of the plan and provide the taxpayer with confidence that the federal loan will be repaid.”

      That’s a good one! Laugh out loud! Some more of Tim’s magic beans! When the stuff hits the fan this isn’t going to be funny.

      Reply

      • Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog! on September 24, 2019 at 11:05 pm

        “The loan program should optimize solvency of the plan and provide the taxpayer with confidence that the federal loan will be repaid.”

        That’s a good one! Laugh out loud!
        Biggest WHOPPER lie of all-time.
        🐶🐶🐶🦴🦴🦴

        Reply

        • Cmon Rex. A certain someone doesn’t really like emoji’s in our comments. Btw, did she take you out to pee yet? Did ya try the choke collar?

          Reply

          • Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog! on September 25, 2019 at 11:45 am

            I sense a “Love Connection” with TL and EG!
            🐶🐶🐶🦴🦴🦴

          • Posted by Tough Love on September 25, 2019 at 12:20 pm

            I have no love nor animus towards El gaupo or any other Public Sector workers (lol ……… perhaps excluding the idiot who keeps pushing snow into my driveway after it’s been shoveled).

            I do find the gross financial abuse of taxpayers ……… via the continued granting of pensions accruals (and retiree healthcare benefit promises) under formulas and provisions (e.g. ridiculously young full retirement ages) that anyone with reasonable intellect and an open mind should now realize are WAY too generous and unaffordable ………… to be extremely problematic.

          • Posted by Tough Love on September 25, 2019 at 1:12 pm

            Or (as the Unions/worker/retirees would like us to believe) …………. nah, “move along folks” there’s no problem here:

            https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/2019-09-24/new-jersey-has-worst-fiscal-health-in-nation

          • I’m gonna go with slight to moderate animus. Lol. Why don’t you chastise him for using emojis 🦴🦴🦴😂?
            And you’re in line for a partial win if Path to Progress passes. You know no politician (campaign contributions or not) is going to hard freeze their own DB plan. Take what you can get. Also, you and I ARE in agreement (we just disagree on the age) that PFRS min retirement age to collect pension should become a thing. I say 55 and 57 for new hires. U say 62.
            Did you see the body camera footage of the St. Paul MN shooting? Where the black lives folks protested and were up in arms before and AFTER the footage shows a motorist running up to a police officer and attacking him witb a knife? Despite what you think, it is a young mans game, for those on patrol at least. 57 is a fair age for a man/woman to retire if they are still on patrol and having to routinely arrest folks less than half their age.
            For someone who you think mooches, we are really not that far off on some of these issues. Disability pensions, sick time payouts, retirement age, getting rid of cops who don’t deserve to have the job(which includes IMO high standards for new hires)
            Where we disagree is 1) health care costs — you are seeing it being removed for new hires in retirement in many contracts. 2) pension accruals continuing, see below about almost every PD having a DB — we have some compromise on age and 3) binding arbitration— which I don’t think you truly see as that much of a problem compared to the other two. Raises are by any metric NOT out of hand anymore.
            Don’t forget, to my knowledge, there is not one state in the country that doesn’t have pensions and younger retirement ages for the police and fire. It seems more egregious to you here because if the higher salaries, NJ private sector salaries are among the highest as well.
            You may not like the medical after retirement issue, but that is disappearing fast from many police contracts. Yes it grandfathers some in, but the cost is worth it to have $160,000 cops replaced by $42,000 ones that are tier 3 and won’t ever see a penny iof longevity and no med after Retirement

          • Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog! on September 25, 2019 at 2:28 pm

            57 is a fair age for a man/woman to retire if they are still on patrol and having to routinely arrest folks less than half their age.
            no, it is not a “fair age” to retire. I will move Gramps and Grandma into dispatch, “school resource officer” or even school crossing guard roles. Trust me, I will find something useful for them to do their last 7-10 years in the workforce that does not require them to be on patrol “arresting” people. Plenty of useful jobs that they can do … 🐶🐶🐶🦴🦴🦴

          • Ok dopey. You gonna have $175,000 crossing guards and dispatchers. Lol. Brilliant. School resource officers? Currently Class 3 specials (retired cops) make around $40,000. And there are only a couple at most in a school. Haha. As Howard Sterns father used to say , don’t be stupid ya moron.
            Pretty dumb idea. Lol. Even for a beagle

          • Not to mention the towns budgets would go thru the roof. Keeping cops on instead of $30,000 dispatchers and part time crossing guards for $20 an hour. Lol.
            You’re just like TL with the quotes. “Arresting”. Why not simply arresting?
            Dumb idea Rex. You, like your owner, have no say in how things are run….and that’s a good thing.

          • @rex. You must really want to hump TL Dirty doggie.
            3 times u used quotes “like she does”.
            “A fair age” “school resource officer” and the last one.
            Even her last 2 posts don’t have quotes except for proper usage. “Move along…”. She is quoting someone…a moocher I assume.
            BTW, TL FWIW I’m glad you’ve refrained from the “financial rape of the taxpayer” statements. Many many other words you can use (and have) that more actually describe the situation than figuratively compairing it to a woman being sexually assaulted against her will be a disgusting and evil man.

          • Posted by PS Drone on September 25, 2019 at 5:41 pm

            Come on EG. There would be no “$175,000 crossing guards”. Paper shufflers and 911 operators coming off the line would not get any pay element for combat zone work, so their pay would be about half of what they made when they were subject to combat conditions.

          • Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog! on September 25, 2019 at 5:49 pm

            BTW, TL FWIW I’m glad you’ve refrained from the “financial rape of the taxpayer” statements. Many many other words you can use (and have) that more actually describe the situation than figuratively compairing it to a woman being sexually assaulted against her will be a disgusting and evil man.
            “Rape” is a gender neutral verb. What makes you think it applies only, or specifically, to females? BTW, it is comPARE, not comPAIR, unless you want Gramps and Grandma to tie the knot before they go to work. As for costs, the pensions are nearly the same as the salary, so it is better to keep them on until age 65 doing something useful to the ones paying the freight . We don’t have to limit them to what I described, painting curbs and picking up trash are very useful Muni jobs-help everyone. Or is that “below” our esteemed GED heros Muni employees 🐶🐶🐶🦴🦴🦴

          • @ps. There is no combat pay. lol. Rex wanted to keep a patrol officer who reached late 50s early 60s and move them from the streets into one of these spots while keeping them on the force so they can’t retire. Of course they would still be at the same pay level. He doesn’t want them to retire….that’s his whole point. Even if they haven’t been promoted and are still on patrol. He wants the. To take a desk job. Too expensive to do that.

          • 1) you know that I am for the most part disgusted by feminism, however, when it comes to rape and most violent crime, it is those of us with the XY chromosome that are the perpetrators. Doesn’t mean I think that women can’t be absolute bitches.
            2) as I stated before, I type on an iPhone, just like most here do. I overlook typos by fellow commentators on here and I would think that you would to. I usually type something than go back to what I was doing. I’m not writing an official police report here.
            3). There is not 1 town or city that would agree with keeping cops on to do that stuff. We make twice what dpw guys make and three or four times what dispatchers and crossing guards. I think you’re just gonna have to deal with that, no elected officials want that to happen. They generally are happy when an older guy puts in his papers.
            4) GED heroes? Beneath you. Everyone on my force has at least a 4 year degree and 2 have a masters. (Out of 18 guys). Nowadays, nobody gets a looksie without it. Maybe in shithole areas? I dunno. Maybe they gotta have the right mix of folks there, if you know what I mean. Lol.

          • Posted by Tough Love on September 25, 2019 at 10:01 pm

            El gaupo,

            As I’ve stated before, Police should be able to retire (stop working) whenever they want, but an unreduced pension should NOT be collectable until age 62, and if you want to begin collecting it younger than age 62, there should be a PROPER early retirement reduction of no less than 5% per-year-of-age below age 62, . noting that Social Security uses a 6% reduction %.

            A pension collectible at age 52 (a common retirement age for police) has a COST just about TWICE that of the identical pension collectable at age 62. There is ZERO justification for Taxpayers to pay for ANY of that incremental cost.

          • Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog! on September 25, 2019 at 10:41 pm

            Of course they would still be at the same pay level. He doesn’t want them to retire….that’s his whole point.
            If the COST to fund their PENSION is basically the same as the current salary, which it IS, then keep them on at whatever they are paid. Like I said, we can get some trash cleaned up, some curbs painted, keep the lil ones safe as local K-6 crossing guards, use their knowledge as school resource officer, or even man the phones at City Hall and take complaints from the IRATE locals/residents over the cost of their salary and pensions!… The options are endless, I will have no problem finding useful jobs/labor for them…..I mean you can pay them to sit on their FANNY or to do something, no matter how slight and menial of a job, it is still something. And there is value and respect in all labor. And they should be THANKFUL! The fact is these are blue collar GED jobs and you cannot have these GED Wonders “retiring” at age 50 and living to age 85 (more retirement downtime than when they actually worked) with $100K/year pensions. 🐶🐶🐶🦴🦴🦴

    • Posted by stanley on September 25, 2019 at 3:10 pm

      “It may be the the US Chamber of Commerce members like the idea of Butch Lewis offering a way to withdraw from multi employer pension plans.”

      I suspect that they would argue that they are helping members by helping to support spending, As they see it, a contraction in spending produces a slump and makes life difficult for the businessman. There’s some truth in that but businessmen should catch on that booms don’t last and spending needs to be matched to production and saving. We need to pare the welfare rolls , not expand them IMO.

      Reply

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