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Senator offers bill to increase multiemployer plan participants’ rights

Sen. Rob Portman, Republican from Ohio
Sen. Rob Portman, Republican from Ohio

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, introduced legislation Wednesday that would give participants in struggling multiemployer pension plans more weight in decisions to reduce benefits.

Under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act, plans seeking permission from the Treasury Department to reduce benefits to avoid insolvency must put proposals to a participant vote, but unreturned ballots are counted as supporting cuts. In addition, participant votes for larger plans that would burden the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. without benefit cuts can be overruled by federal regulators.

Mr. Portman's proposed Pension Accountability Act would no longer count unreturned ballots and would make the participant vote binding before cuts can occur.