Former Congressman Named Chair of POWER Pension Coalition

Lack of Congressional reform could tank 100 multiemployer plans.

To help protect the benefits of multiemployer pensioners and future retirees, pension coalition Protect Our Retirees Earned Retirement (POWER!) has tapped former Florida Congressman Connie Mack to head the coalition as its national chairman.

“Millions of retirees and workers are staring at deep reductions in their pension benefits, while employers risk going out of business unless Congress and the President act swiftly,” Mack said in a statement.  “We need all sides to come to the table to find a solution. The longer we fail to address the situation, the harder and more expensive it will be to solve it.”

POWER! involves employers, unions, workers, and retirees to work on resolving the crisis that face Multiemployer Pension Plans (MEPPs). A Joint Select Committee was recently formed in Congress to solve the crisis, with a November 30 deadline to issue a report.

While multiemployer pension systems cover 10 million Americans, failure of a Congressional reform could cause an estimated 100 multiemployer pension plans to fail. According to a news release, plan participants were paid out $241 billion in wages and pension payments in 2015, yet those same members also paid roughly $35 billion in federal taxes and $8.4 billion in state and local taxes.

“If Congress and the President do not act, businesses in our industry will be forced to shut their doors,” said Steve DeHaan, president of the International Warehouse Logistics Association. “Many are second- and third-generation family-owned warehouse companies where withdrawal liabilities exceed their net worth.”

The group currently has seven advocacy campaigns on its website, which will send letters to Wisconsin, Ohio, New York, Indiana, Missouri, and Michigan, and Pennsylvania senators urging they get involved in restructuring policy for multiemployer pension plans.

“The time is now for the President and Congress to come together to find a solution to the MEPP crisis. We have to get beyond political rhetoric and work toward a compromise,” Nick Pyle, president of the Independent Bakers Association, said. “If this problem lingers, the solution will cost more and it will arrive too late for some of our members to sustain their businesses.”  


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