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Teamsters, Bricklayers funds eye multiemployer benefit cuts

New York State Teamsters Conference Pension and Retirement Fund, Syracuse, is expected to file an application on Aug. 25 to reduce benefits under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014, according to a letter from the fund's retiree representative, Tom Baum, that said the board of trustees approved the plan Aug. 4.

Benefit reductions would go into effect on July 1, 2017. As of Jan 1, 2014, the most recent 5500 filing, the plan was 46.5% funded, with $1.46 billion in assets and $3.14 billion in liabilities.

Fund trustees said in a Feb. 5 letter to 34,639 participants that the plan's actuary determined it is projected to go insolvent within the next 19 years.

The Teamsters' action follows two other applications submitted to the Treasury Department recently.

Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 5 New York Retirement Fund, Newburgh, is seeking permission to cut benefits for participants, including retirees, as part of a proposed rescue plan awaiting approval from the Treasury Department.

The application to reduce benefits was submitted Aug. 4. Pension fund assets as of Jan. 1 were $20.3 million, and liabilities were $67.2 million, for a funded status of 30.2% The proposed benefit reductions would start April 1, 2017, if approved.

On June 28, Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 7 Pension Plan in Austintown, Ohio, applied for a suspension plan. The $14.6 million plan is 46.7% funded as of May 1, and projected to be insolvent by the end of the 2025 plan year, according to its application.

Once an application is submitted, the Treasury Department has 30 days to post the application on its website and 225 days to respond.