CHANTILLY, Va. - In a letter to President Bush, the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association (SMACNA) urged that the administration reconsider its opposition to temporary relief for multiemployer pension plans facing technical funding deficiencies within the next few years. The Senate included relief for multiemployer plans in its version of H.R. 3108.

According to the association, the bill does nothing to help multiemployer plans. SMACNA is encouraging President Bush to recognize the role these small businesses play in economic recovery and job creation.

SMACNA said that employers contributing to multiemployer plans have paid regularly into their pension funds and lived up to the terms of their collective bargaining agreements, and there are differences between multiemployer plans and single-employer plans. The General Accounting Office, in recent testimony before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, stated, "The framework governing multiemployer plans would place greater risk on employers and participants and less on the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) than does PBGC's single-employer program."

The letter explained that without the president's support, employers in multiemployer plans that reach a technical funding deficiency would face a penalty by the IRS, and this would divert more money from the economy. Employers would pay penalties on top of their regular contributions, in addition to paying additional pension fund contributions.

Publication date: 04/19/2004