Apparel Maker Agrees to Bolster Pension Plan

September 24, 2009 ( - The nation's private-sector pension insurer has announced an agreement with a North Carolina apparel maker to bolster its pension plan.

Under the agreement, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) said, Hanesbrands has put $7 million into the pension plan in September and will make an additional $6.8 million payment by September 15, 2010, in addition to any other plan contributions.

The PBGC said the Hanesbrands Inc. Pension Plan covers more than 30,000 employees at the Winston-Salem company, which retains full control over the plan.

“The nation’s workers and retirees have worked hard to earn the benefits they were promised, and we will use all the statutory tools at our disposal to protect those retirement benefits,” said PBGC Acting Director Vince Snowbarger. “We will continue to monitor corporate activities that may weaken pension plan funding and negotiate appropriate protections. We applaud Hanesbrands for its cooperation in working with us to create a solution that is in the best interests of the company’s employees.”

The agreement stems from the February. 8, 2009, closure of the company’s Eden Textiles facility in Eden, North Carolina, which affected 290 of the active participants in the National Textiles LLC Pension Plan. The National Textiles plan has since been merged into the Hanesbrands plan.

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requires the PBGC to seek additional protection when more than 20% of a company’s employees covered by a pension plan lose their jobs due to a cessation of operations at a facility.