Archive for the ‘Multiemployer Pensions’ Category

Mine Workers Pension Bailout Too?

Health benefits are the immediate concern as participants in the United Mine Workers of America 1974 (UMWA) Pension Plan are unlikely to see any significant cuts in their pensions  primarily because the average retiree receives about $6,900 annually, far less than the PBGC guarantee, so even after exhaustion of all  trust assets by 2025 the Mine Workers will likely have the PBGC continuing to pay most of their benefits (unless of course the PBGC itself goes belly-up by then too).

Yesterday S175 was introduced by Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.):

A bill to amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to transfer certain funds to the Multiemployer Health Benefit Plan and the 1974 United Mine Workers of America Pension Plan, and for other purposes.

Immediately following S176 was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell titled:

A bill to amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to transfer certain funds to the Multiemployer Health Benefit Plan, and for other purposes.

Both bills propose funneling money past April from the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund to pay health benefits to “orphaned” retired miners and their dependents left adrift by coal companies that have gone bankrupt. However S175 also wants the UMWA Pension Plan to get some money.  The question is from where? Continue reading

Election Certainty

This Friday, January 20, a particularly farcical election cycle, where outcomes are predetermined as the voting public  is anesthetized to real issues by a spate of diversions and misinformation, will end.

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Trump Exaggerating Size of His Pension?

Among the revenue items in Donald Trump’s 2015 Financial Disclosure form is this:

trump-sag15

 

The 2016 form has this:

trump-sag

How did Donald Trump get a $110,228 pension that rose to $168.584 in one year under a multiemployer (union) plan? Two things of note:

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Breaking News: Fifth Union Plan Gets MPRA Letter

On September 25, 2015 the Central States Pension Plan was the first multiemployer plan to apply to the Treasury Department to reduce benefits under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA). On May 6, 2016 that application was denied.

March 15, 2016 – Road Carriers Local 707 Pension Fund also applied. June 24, 2016 – denied.

March 26, 2016 – Ironworkers Local 16 Pension Plan applied.  November 3, 2016 – denied

November 10, 2016 – Teamsters Local 469 Pension Fund out of Hazlet, New Jersey which applied first on 12/28/15 but withdrew that application and refiled on 3/31/16denied

Today the Ironworkers Local 17 Pension Fund got their letter….

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UPIC (9) – Canaries in the Coal Mine on Pension Bailouts

Participants in the United Mine Workers of America 1974 (UMWA) Pension Plan are unlikely to see any significant cuts in their benefits  primarily because the average retiree receives about $6,900 annually, far less than the PBGC guarantee, so even after exhaustion of all trust assets by 2025, like the Fish Lumpers, the Mine Workers will likely have the PBGC continuing to pay most of their benefits (unless of course the PBGC itself goes belly-up by then too).

There is an emergency, which four senators are desperate to address, but not quite as reported:

As Congress closes up shop for 2016, a group of four Democratic senators is determined to “use whatever means necessary” to secure a special-interest taxpayer bailout for the United Mine Workers of America union.

According to the senators, those “means” will include “blocking other bills” until the bailout is secure.

The UMWA represents roughly 100,000 active and retired coal miners. After decades of failing to set aside sufficient funds to keep the promises it made, the UMWA’s members are on track to see their pension benefits reduced when the union’s plan becomes insolvent around 2025.

Never before in history has the U.S. government bailed out a private pension plan. That’s because bailouts encourage more of the same reckless behavior that led to the bailout in the first place. If the federal government forces taxpayers to back up the promises made by private companies or unions, what incentive will those plans have to make good on their promises?

Pensions are involved but it is those health care benefits that will cease for 22,000 retirees at the end of this year that primarily worries senators like West Virginia’s Joe Manchin who in July spoke in favor of the Miners Protection Act:

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UPIC (8) At the Mercy of the Government

A pension plan for retired fish lumpers could collapse if federal fishing regulators continue to make drastic cuts in the number of days groundfish vessels can go to sea. While the plan is currently solvent it is “coming to a very slow death” said James M. Dwyer Jr. secretary treasurer of New Bedford’s Fish Lumpers Union Local 1749 ILA.

South Coast Today 3/12/06

That death came five years later when the plan ran out of money and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation came in to pay benefits and administrative expenses but that 2006 story has ominous warnings for other union plans currently at sea and at the mercy of onerous government regulations on almost everything with the singular exception of adequate pension funding levels for multiemployer and public plans.

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UPIC (7) Endgame

In paring the list of multemployer (union) plans to those located in New Jersey and sorted by funded ratio the New Bedford Fish Lumpers Pension Plan out of West Trenton stands out with that 1.42% funded ratio and this history:

nbfish-history

Ten years ago this plan was 52.62% funded which is higher than the 47.04% average funded ratio for ALL multiemployer plans and the 46.57% average funded ratio for all multiemployer plans in New Jersey. Ten years from now the fate of the New Bedford Fish Lumpers Pension Plan could be visited on 90% of all multiempoloyer plans. That fate, as noted in their latest 5500 filing, is….

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