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Pension Funds

3 more multiemployer plans apply for benefit cuts

Three more multiemployer pension funds have applied for permission to reduce benefits to remain solvent, according to the Treasury Department's website listing applications under the Kline-Miller Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014.

One pension fund, the Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 94 Pension Fund, Harrisburg, Pa., also applied to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. to approve a partition, which requires an MPRA application. Partitioning sets up a second plan to pay some benefits that the PBGC guarantees, and is granted only if the changes will make a pension fund solvent for at least 30 years.

The Local 94 fund is projected to be insolvent in 2026 without both benefit cuts and the partition, and by 2029 without the partition. It had $2.3 million in assets and $6 million in liabiliites as of April 30, according to its latest Form 5500.

The other applications are from the Sheet Metal Workers Local Pension Fund, Massillon, Ohio, and Plasterers Local 82 Pension Plan, Portland, Ore.

The sheet metal workers' pension fund covers 4,500 participants. It had $41.4 million in assets and $84.9 million in liabilities as of April 30, 2017, according to its latest Form 5500 filing.

The Plasterers Local 82 Pension Plan is projected to become insolvent during the 2034 plan year. It is proposing to reduce benefits by 22% and 31%, depending on number of hours worked, by February 2019. Older or disabled participants would be protected. In 2017, the fund was 47% funded.

To date, the Treasury Department has denied five MPRA applications for benefit suspensions, and approved four: Iron Workers Local 17 Pension Fund, Cleveland; International Association of Machinists of Motor City Pension Fund, Troy, Mich.; New York State Teamsters Conference Pension and Retirement Fund, Syracuse; and United Furniture Workers Pension Fund A, Nashville, Tenn.

With the latest filings, there are now seven applications under review.