Up to one-third of all union pension funds are facing funding shortfalls, said Randy G. DeFrehn, executive director of the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans. The group is lobbying aggressively for inclusion of a provision relaxing funding rules in the Houses Pension Preservation and Savings Expansion Act, sponsored by Reps. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Ben Cardin, D-Md.
Because contribution rates to multiemployer pension plans are set by participating employers as part of collective bargaining contracts negotiated every few years, the plans do not have the ability to easily make up for shortfalls suffered because of investment losses, Mr. DeFrehn said. As part of the lobbying effort, NCCMP officials launched a grass-roots effort to deluge lawmakers with phone calls and letters from multiemployer plan trustees and consultants. A vote on the Portman-Cardin legislation by the House Ways and Means Committee is expected next week.