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PBGC aids insolvent multiemployer pension plans


WASHINGTON—The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. said Thursday that it will provide financial assistance to two insolvent multiemployer pension plans to ensure participants continue to receive benefits.

The PBGC will provide assistance to the Southern California, Arizona, Colorado and Southern Nevada Glaziers, Architectural Metal and Glass Workers Pension Plan in El Monte, Calif., which has about 5,200 participants. The agency sent an initial payment of $639,113 to ensure that the plan’s 1,500 retirees receive their guaranteed benefits. The PBGC estimates its total commitment to the plan at about $117 million.

The other plan receiving assistance is the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1049 Pension Plan in Cedar Knolls, N.J. The PBGC has made an initial payment of $132,000 to ensure payment of benefits to 240 retirees. The PBGC estimates its total financial commitment will be $5.2 million.

The PBGC’s insurance program for multiemployer plans differs in several ways from its single-employer program. The PBGC actually takes over failed single-employer plans but does not take over insolvent multiemployer plans. Instead, the agency sends financial assistance to the plan to ensure that guaranteed benefits are paid.

The PBGC provides financial assistance to 40 insolvent multiemployer plans out of the roughly 1,500 multiemployer plans it insures. At the end of fiscal 2009, the PBGC had $1.5 billion in assets in its multiemployer insurance program to cover about $2.3 billion of financial assistance the PBGC expects to provide to the plans in the future.