The third multi-employer pension plan since September 2015 has filed an application with the Department of the Treasury in which it is seeking to reduce core benefits under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (“MPRA”). The Teamsters Local 469 Pension Plan (“469 Fund”) which is administered in Hazlet, New Jersey has now joined the Central States Southeast and Southwest Area Pension Fund (“Central States”) and the Iron Workers Local 17 Pension Fund (“Iron Workers Fund”) in efforts to cut retirees’ core benefits by asserting that it is in “critical and declining” status, the standard which was promulgated in the MPRA.
The demographics of the 469 Fund seem to be akin to those of the Iron Workers Fund as its 2014 Form 5500 reported current assets of $122.6 million and liabilities of $279.9 million. The application, if approved, would impact approximately 1,781 participants.
Notably, the Department of the Treasury still has not ruled on the first application that was filed by Central States.
This disturbing trend further underscores the importance of employers’ vigilance in monitoring the status of these multiemployer pension funds. For contributing employers, these applications only add insult to the injury of withdrawal liability because the benefits upon which employer’s withdrawal is being assessed will not even be paid to the participants!
We will continue to monitor the multiemployer fund landscape and keep you advised.