Archive for the ‘Multiemployer Pensions’ Category

NFL Super Bind

It’s Super Bowl time which, for some of us, means  that the new 5500 for the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan is out and we get a better idea of how much Tom Brady really has in common with a Cleveland Iron Worker.

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Breaking News: Iron Workers 17 Benefit Suspension Vote Results

On December 16, 2016 the Ironworkers Local 17 Pension Fund became the first (and only)  multemployer (union) plan allowed to reduce benefits under MPRA by, in this case:

when all Participants are considered, the average monthly benefits will be reduced under the Suspension Plan by 20%, from $1,401 to $1,120.

However, for those benefit cuts to go into effect as of February 1, 2017, a majority of 1,938 eligible plan participants and beneficiaries had to vote for it. Yesterday the results of that vote were released:

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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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