To the Editor,
Congress has passed a trillion dollar omnibus spending bill that includes giving trustees of multi-employer pension plans the ability to cut pensions earned by 1.5 million workers and retirees. Many pensions will be cut by up to 50 percent to retirees who are in no position to make up for the monthly short-falls they will be sorely missing in order to be financial secure.
On behalf of the workers and retirees who read your newspaper, I feel you should publish an editorial telling members of Congress they should hold hearings early in the new Congress to explore better solutions other than cutting pension benefits. Reportedly, Congress acted out of concern about the $42.4 billion that the PBGC says it is short for needed payouts if at-risk multi-employer pension plans failed. Does this remedy open the door for the PBGC and single-employer pension plan sponsors to seek the same relief?
Congress did not stipulate that this change applied to multi-employer plans only. It enacted the law in a way that it changed ERISA to permit the change to some underfunded multi-employer plans but did not add the word “only.” Therefore, Congress did not preclude underfunded single-employer plans from being de-risked by allowing plan sponsors to cut retiree pension benefits in the future! Tell Congress it needs to amend the provision to protect single-employer pension plan retirees.
New York City