The Pension Rights Center, Washington, is asking senators to oppose watering down some provisions in the pension bill that is expected to come before the full Senate for a vote soon. In a letter sent Wednesday, the center asked all senators to oppose amendments to the bill that would "retroactively legalize cash balance plans, undermining the rights of hundreds of thousands of employees." The letter also urged senators to oppose amendments that "would weaken fiduciary standards under ERISA."
The letter from Karen W. Ferguson, director of the Pension Rights Center, and Karen D. Friedman, policy director, noted that any amendments to legalize cash balance plans retroactively would jeopardize the rights of employees who now have pending lawsuits, and undermine the rights of others seeking to recover benefits unfairly lost in the past.
They also expressed concerns about two other expected amendments. One would cut current fiduciary protections for employees' pensions by removing critical prohibitions against conflicts of interest among those who manage pension fund assets. The second would allow certain multiemployer plans to eliminate early retirement benefits that have been earned by thousands of workers.