SMACNA APPLAUDS "PARTNERSHIP FOR MULTIEMPLOYER RETIREMENT SECURITY INITIATIVE" — NEW TOOLS TO HELP PLANS MEET TODAY’S ECONOMIC REALITIES
CHANTILLY, VA., February 19, 2013, — In an effort to address funding issues faced by construction industry multiemployer defined benefit pension plans and their contributing employers, the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) has taken a strong lead in crafting “The Partnership for Multiemployer Retirement Security: A Business and Labor Initiative,” a comprehensive and innovative plan supported by business and labor to reform existing pension law.
The recommendations in the proposal are designed to restructure and update multiemployer plan funding rules to match today’s economic realities in order to safeguard retirement security for participants, to avert the need for taxpayer bailouts for insolvent plans and to ensure the viability of businesses that have conscientiously and consistently made contributions to these plans on behalf of their workers.
"The viability of good, responsible construction employers, the majority of them small family-owned businesses, is at stake and this proposal, if adopted quickly, will maintain reliable lifetime retirement benefits for workers and significantly reduce or eliminate the uncontrollable financial risk for SMACNA employers who currently contribute to industry pension plans, many of them with an unstable future," said SMACNA President Howard Stine.
SMACNA is a leading proponent of "The Partnership for Multiemployer Retirement Security: A Business and Labor Initiative." The three primary areas of recommended action in the Initiative are:
1. Preservation: Proposals to Strengthen the Current System
2. Remediation: Measures to Assist Deeply Troubled Plans
3. Innovation: New Structures to Foster Innovative Plan Designs
The final report recommendations culminate a two-year effort by business owners, trade associations, representatives from labor unions, pension plan administrators, actuaries and accountants to address the challenges of multiemployer plans facing near-term and long-term funding issues.
SMACNA’s CEO Vince Sandusky praised the work of the Retirement Security Review Commission. "The group faced its own challenges trying to meet both the needs of business owners and the goals of unions dedicated to ensuring reasonable retirement security for their members. Innovative thinking and compromise got us to a proposal we think fair-minded Democrats and Republicans in Congress will view favorably," Sandusky noted. "Enacting this proposal will be SMACNA’s number one legislative priority in the coming year," Sandusky added.
Severe investment losses devastating plan assets, the economic recession deeply affecting the construction industry, and a shift in demographics all contribute to precarious funding positions for many construction industry plans. SMACNA believes the business and labor solutions outlined in today’s report tackle the challenges head-on and that Congressional enactment would enable multiemployer plans to continue to provide cost-effective and reliable retirement benefits to hundreds of thousands of construction workers and would enable the employers who fund them to maintain their role as vital contributors to national economic prosperity. Construction industry plans account for fifty-four percent of multiemployer plans.
SMACNA, an international trade association representing 4,500 contributing contracting firms, is dedicated to promoting quality and excellence in the sheet metal and air conditioning industry. SMACNA has national offices in Chantilly, Va., outside of Washington, D.C., as well as on Capitol Hill.
# # #