As president of the American Benefits Council, James A. Klein admits he rarely agreed with the late Karen Ferguson, founder of the Pension Rights Center, on benefits and pension issues.
Yet it was Mr. Klein who nominated Ms. Ferguson for the 2022 Public Service Award from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, Brookfield, Wis. Ms. Ferguson, who died Dec. 23, was honored by the foundation posthumously in May.
"Our two organizations shared the same goals," Mr. Klein said in an interview. "We worked together in that spirit."
Despite the differences between the pro-employer American Benefits Council, Washington, and the pro-participant Pension Rights Center, "it was my privilege to honor her and her landmark achievement," Mr. Klein said.
A former public interest lawyer, Ms. Ferguson created the Washington-based Pension Rights Center in 1976.
"She became one of the country's foremost experts on pension law and a champion of workers' rights," said Kevin E. Tighe, president and board chairman of the IFEBP, in a May 30 news release. "Her life's work was focused on challenging the systems in place to find a better path for a secure retirement."
The award was presented May 24 to Ms. Ferguson's son, Andrew Ferguson, a law professor at American University, during the foundation's annual Washington legislative update meeting.