As many as 117 multiemployer pension funds could fail within the next 20 years unless Congress comes up with a solution, according to an analysis released Tuesday by actuarial consulting firm Cheiron Inc. The pension funds have total assets of $41.8 billion and liabilities of $98.3 billion.
The 117 pension funds have a collective $56.5 billion in underfunding. Three of them — Teamsters Central States, Southeast & Southwest Areas Pension Fund, New England Teamsters & Trucking Industry Pension Fund and Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union — accounting for 62.4% of the underfunding, representing a 15.7% increase from the 2018 analysis.
The number would have been as high as 124 before seven plans failed or shut down in the past year. A few plans were able to improve their situation by winning Treasury Department approval to reduce benefits under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014.
Cheiron found that up to 12 multiemployer funds expect to be insolvent in 2020, and 44 funds expect it by 2025, the same year that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. also expects its multiemployer insurance program to be insolvent.
"Things are getting worse and the longer we wait, the more expensive and harder it becomes," Cheiron CEO Gene Kalwarski said in an emailed statement.