Time to bail out union pension funds – BOHICA!

Much ink has been spilled about the precarious state of employee pension funds since the beginning of the Recession. A large number are seriously underfunded to the point of collapse. Is it the responsibility of government (taxpayers) to mitigate this situation? Enter S.3157 – the “Create Jobs and Save Benefits Act of 2010.” (more here)

Congress is coming after your wallets again, this time they will be bailing out multi-employer pension plans, retirement programs for union workers funded by employers and run by employer and union management..

Many multi-employer plans are struggling after years of financial hits especially after the last recession. Along with the value of the plans going down, as the boomer generation is reaching retirement age, every year the number of people tapping those retirement funds hits a new record.

A 2009 study from ratings firm Moody’s Investors Service estimated that the country’s largest multi-employer plans have long-term deficits of about $165 billion (108 plans). The report is summarized at the end of this post.

According the Wall Street Journal, things are even worse than the Moody’s report indicates. The number of union-run pension plans may be in the hundreds.

Great. Another bailout courtesy of the American taxpayer. And whose pensions are in trouble? According to Moody’s any pension that is funded below 66% is in critical condition. Here’s a partial list (including funding level percentage):

SEIU National Industry Pension Fund     65.00%
Trucking Employees of North Jersey Welfare Fund Inc. Pension Fund     65.00%
Massachusetts Laborers Pension Fund     64.70%
California Ironworkers Field Pension Trust     64.50%
Carpenters Pension Fund of Illinois     64.20%
Automotive Machinists Pension Plan     63.80%
NJ Carpenters Pension Fund     63.60%
The Newspaper Guild International Pension Plan     62.80%
Minnesota Laborers Pension Fund     62.40%
Bakery & Confectionery Union & Industry International Pension     62.30%
Laborers National Pension Fund     62.10%
Operating Engineers Pension Trust     61.70%
UFCW Unions and Food Employers Pension Plan of Central Ohio     61.30%
UFCW Nothern California Joint Pension     61.00%
Carpenters Pension fund of Western Pennsylvania     60.80%
Newspaper and Mail Delivers – Publishers Pension Fund     60.50%
Carpenter Pension Trust for Southern California     60.40%
BERT Bell Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan 60.00%
Major League Baseball Players Pension Plan 59.60%
Sheet Metal Workers Pension Plan of S. CA, Arizona and Nevada     59.50%
NY District Council of Carpenters Pension Plan     59.30%
SO CA UFCW Union Joint Pension     58.40%
National Electrical Benefit Fund     58.20%
Boilermaker Blacksmith National Pension     58%
GCIU-Employer Retirement Fund     57.60%
ILWU-PMA Pension Plan     56.90%
Masters, Mates & Pilots Pension Plan     56.60%
Wisconsin Carpenters Pension Fund     56.50%
Electrical Workers Pension Trust Fund of Local Union 58     55.80%
Automotive Mechanics Local No. 701 Union Pension Fund     55.60%
IB of T Union Local 710 Pension     55.60%
Michigan Laborers Pension Fund     55.30%
PACE Industry Union-Management Pension Fund     55.20%
Pipe Fitters Retirement Fund Local 597     55.20%
Sheet Metal Workers Pension Plan of Northern Calif     55.10%
Central Pennsylvania Teamsters Defined Benefit Plan     55.10%
NY Hotel Trades Council and Hotel Association of NYC Pension Fund     55.10%
Teamsters Joint Council No. 83 of Verginia Pension Fund     54.90%
National Integrated Group Pension Plan     54.50%
Plumbers & Pipefitters National Pension     54.50%
Central Laborers Pension Fund     54.20%
Iron Workers District Council of Southern Ohio & Vicinity Pension Trust     53.90%
Carpenters Pension Trust Fund for Northern California     53.70%
Bricklayers & Trowel Trades International Pension Fund     53.60%
Western Pennsylvania Teamsters and Employers Pension Plan     53.10%
Chicago Newspaper Publishers Drivers Union Pension Trust     52.90%
OE Pension Trust Fund     52.40%
Indiana State District Council of Laborers & Hod Carriers Pension Fund     51.70%
NYS Teamsters Conference Pension & Retirement Fund     51.40%
LIUNA National Industrial Pension Fund     50.30%
Michigan Carpenters Pension Fund     50.20%
Twin City Carpenters Pension Fund     50.20%
Laborers Pension Trust Fund for Northern California     50.00%
HERE Local 25 and Hotel Association of Washington, DC Pension     49.30%
Central States SE&SW     48.50%
Teamsters Pension Trust of Philadelphia and Vicinity     48.50%
Operating Engineers Local 324 Pension Fund     47.30%
Laborers District Council of W. PA Pension Fund     46.80%
Iron Workers Local No. 25 Pension Trust Fund     46.40%
Local 705 IB of T Pension Trust Fund     46.30%
Building Service 32B-J Pension Fund     42.30%
Carpenters Pension Trust Fund Detroit & Vicinity     41.40%
New England Teamsters & Trucking Industry Pension     40.50%
FELRA and UFCW Pension Fund     39.80%
Local 804 I.B.T. and Local 447 IAM UPS Multi-employer Retirement Plan     39.70%
Sheet Metal Workers National Pension Fund     38.00%

Notice the NFL and MLB Players unions are included in this list. How does it feel to know that you might be paying for the retirement of millionaire athletes? My 401K account lost almost half its value in the last 30 months. Where’s my bailout?

This bailout mania has to stop. We cannot afford this lunacy. We have a day of reckoning coming with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and it won’t be pretty.

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One Response to “Time to bail out union pension funds – BOHICA!”

  1. Pretty excellent post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have extremely enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I am going to be subscribing for the feed and I hope you write-up once more soon.

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