July 20, 2018

July 20, 2018

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July 19, 2018

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July 18, 2018

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Treasury Approves Second MPRA Application

On July 20, the Nashville-based United Furniture Workers Pension Fund A (the Fund) became the second multiemployer pension plan to receive the US Department of the Treasury’s approval to suspend benefits under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA). This is the first application approved under the Trump administration.

The Fund, which withdrew and resubmitted its application on March 15, 2017, proposed reducing all 9,900 participants and beneficiaries’ benefits to the maximum extent allowed by MPRA (i.e., to 110% of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) monthly guarantee). Simultaneously, the PBGC conditionally approved the Fund’s request to partition all of the guaranteed benefit liabilities of its terminated vested participants and 56% of its retirees, beneficiaries, and disabled participants to a separate plan paid for by the PBGC.

Participants now must vote on the benefit suspensions. Under MPRA, the proposed benefit reductions and partition become effective unless a majority of all participants and beneficiaries eligible to vote cast negative ballots. If the participants approve the suspensions and the Treasury Department issues its final authorization, the suspensions and partition will be effective on September 1, 2017.

The only other multiemployer pension plan to receive the Treasury Department’s approval on an MPRA application was the Iron Workers Local 17 Pension Plan on December 16, 2016 (with the final authorization to suspend issued on January 27, 2017).

Copyright © 2018 by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. All Rights Reserved.


About this Author

David Ofenloch, Morgan Lewis, employment attorney

David P. Ofenloch advises clients who are multiemployer benefit funds, boards of trustees, plan sponsors, and employers, on all aspects of employee benefit matters. Providing insight on the latest regulations and legislation, David counsels clients on matters involving the Affordable Care Act, HIPAA, COBRA, ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code, the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act, the Pension Protection Act, and the Labor Management Relations Act. Most recently, David has gained extensive experience counseling clients on compliance and plan strategy under the...

Thomas Wotring, Morgan Lewis Law Firm, Litigation attorney
Senior Counsel

Thomas K. Wotring’s primary area of expertise is advising and representing multiemployer pension and health benefit plans and their Boards of Trustees in all areas of plan administration, including fiduciary compliance, benefit disputes, and withdrawal liability litigation. His experience includes investigations and federal claim controversies before a variety of government agencies including the US Department of Labor (DOL), the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, and the US Department of Justice.

Thomas also represents employers in both single-employer and multiemployer collective bargaining. He primarily represents clients in the transportation and construction industries, who turn to him for his knowledge of both the negotiation process and also the difficult issues associated with contract administration, such as compensation and benefits issues, subcontracting, and plant relocations and closures.