Ohio Bricklayers Pension Fund Gets PBGC Bailout

The union plan had been severely underfunded for over a year but can now meet its liabilities to nearly 400 participants.

Last month, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation approved a Special Financial Assistance request to the Bricklayers Local 7 union pension plan in Akron, Ohio.

The pension benefits had been cut since October of last year by an average of 55% under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act. The plan has 397 participants. The SFA program, passed as part of the American Rescue Plan Act provided $32.7 million in assistance to the plan, which will allow it to fully fund its obligations to its members.

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“The Special Financial Assistance approved today means that these 397 construction workers and retirees will receive the full retirement benefits they earned,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “Since 2020, they have been receiving reduced pension payments through no fault of their own.”

The SFA provision of the ARP provides funding for severely underfunded multiemployer pension plans. Plans that receive assistance must monitor the money and the interest it generates separately from other sources of funding they may have. The PBGC also only accepts investment-grade bonds as an investment for the funds it provides.

Bricklayers Local 7 did not return a request for comment.