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Treasury Announces Receipt of Application to Reduce Benefits under MPRA

In yet another example of the urgent need for multiemployer pension reform, today the Treasury Department announced its receipt of an application from the Board of Trustees of the Carpenters Pension Trust Fund-Detroit & Vicinity Pension Fund to reduce benefits in accordance with the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA).  Treasury is requesting public comments on this application from interested parties, including contributing employers, employee organizations, and participants and beneficiaries.

Under the MPRA, a multiemployer pension plan sponsor that believes benefit reductions are needed must submit an application to the Treasury Department showing that reductions are necessary to keep the plan from running out of money.  The law requires the Treasury Department to approve an application if it meets the conditions established by the MPRA.  Treasury received the application from the Board of Trustees of the of the Carpenters Pension Trust Fund-Detroit & Vicinity Pension Fund on September 29, 2020. The Treasury Department, in consultation with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and the Department of Labor, has 225 days to review this application to determine whether it meets the requirements established by Congress.  Among other requirements, the MPRA provides that benefits cannot be reduced until after: (1) the plan sponsor notifies participants and beneficiaries of the application for a benefit reduction and provides them with individualized estimates of reduced benefits; (2) participants and beneficiaries have an opportunity to comment on the application; and (3) participants and beneficiaries have an opportunity to vote on the benefit reduction.

This is yet another example of the many multiemployer pension plans that have applied for benefit reductions under the MPRA.  In recent years, the Board of Trustees of the Building Material Drivers Local 436 Pension Fund, Bricklayers & Allied Craftsmen Local 7 Pension Fund, the Board of Trustees of the Teamsters Local 807 Labor-Management Pension Plan (Long Island, New York), the Board of Trustees of the American Federation of Musicians & Employers Pension Fund, the Board of Trustees of the Composition Roofers Local 42 Pension Fund, the Board of Trustees of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 237 Pension Fund, the Board of Trustees of the Sheet Metal Workers Local Pension Fund, the Board of Trustees of the Western Pennsylvania Teamsters & Employers Pension Fund, the Southwest Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters Pension Plan, the Board of Trustees of the Toledo Roofers Local No. 134 Pension Plan, the Mid-Jersey Trucking Industry and Local No. 701 Pension Fund, the Board of Trustees of the Pressroom Unions’ Pension Trust Fund, the Teamsters Local 805 Pension and Retirement Fund, the Alaska Ironworkers Pension Plan, the Western States Office and Professional Employees Pension Fund, the Teamsters Central States Fund, the Teamsters Southeast & Southwest Areas Pension Fund, the Iron Workers Local 17 Pension Plan, and the Road Carriers Pension Fund have also applied for benefit reductions.

Comments on this application are due by December 11, 2020 and can be submitted at http://www.regulations.gov/.

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