Biden announces $36 billion in federal aid for struggling Central States Teamsters plan



President Joe Biden on Thursday announced that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. has approved $36 billion in federal assistance to shore up a massive union multiemployer pension plan facing steep cuts.

Teamsters Central States, Southeast & Southwest Areas Pension Fund, Chicago, will receive the funds under the Special Financial Assistance Program. The program, created by the American Rescue Plan Act that Democrats passed in March 2021, was designed to shore up struggling multiemployer pension plans through 2051. The PBGC estimates the total cost of the program will range from $74 billion to $91 billion.

The Central States Pension Fund covers more than 350,000 union workers and retirees who were facing estimated benefit reductions of roughly 60% in the next few years, according to a White House news release.

The pension plan had a funding ratio of 18% with $57.2 billion in projected benefit obligations as of Jan. 1, 2021, according to the plan’s most recent Form 5500 filing. As of Dec. 31, the plan had $10.1 billion in assets, the filing showed.

The PBGC approved the first SFA application in December 2021 and since then has awarded funds to 36 other struggling multiemployer plans. But Thursday’s announcement is by far the largest. As of Dec. 1, the PBGC had approved just over $8.9 billion in SFA funds to cover roughly 193,000 workers, retirees and beneficiaries.

Author(s): Brian Croce

Publication Date: 8 Dec 2022

Publication Site: P&I Online