First Multiemployer Plan Gets Approval for Benefit Cuts

Four previous applications were denied by the U.S. Treasury Department.

The Iron Workers Local 17 Pension Fund is the first multiemployer pension plan to receive approval from the U.S. Department of the Treasury to cut benefits for participants as part of a proposed rescue plan under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act (MPRA).

According to data from the Pension Rights Center, four applications so far have been denied, including that of the Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Plan. Four others are in review, and one has had its comment period closed.

Under the MPRA, multiemployer pension plans in critical or declining status are allowed to apply for a suspension of benefits, with proof that the action would help the plan avoid insolvency. Following the application by the Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Plan, retirees nationwide protested the cuts. However, while retirees say the cuts are unfair, regulators say without them, the result could be much worse.