Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS CENTRAL STATES DOING TO SUPPORT LEGISLATION TO PROTECT OUR PARTICIPANTS’ PENSION BENEFITS?
Central States Pension Fund supports any legislative solution that protects participants’ benefits, and we are committed to working constructively with Congress. Absent Congressional action, the Central States Pension Fund will become insolvent by 2025 and participants and beneficiaries will experience large benefit reductions. The Fund has an enormous imbalance between active participants and retirees who receive benefits. Currently, the Fund pays out approximately $2.8 billion in pension benefits each year but collects only $700 million in contributions and withdrawal liability payments. Investment returns cannot possibly offset this imbalance.
Legislative action is needed immediately to address the Fund’s fiscal crisis. Every day that passes without legislative relief will put the Fund one step closer to insolvency and will, in short order, put the possibility of a rescue out of reach.
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP CONGRESS FIND A SOLUTION?
We believe it is important that all of us involved with the fate of multiemployer pension funds—active and retired participants, beneficiaries, employers, unions, pension rights organizations, and the funds themselves — direct our collective time and energy toward persuading Members of Congress that they must act this year to preserve the retirement security of all those participating in multiemployer plans.
Collectively, we can’t afford to get sidetracked with scenarios that aren’t plausible or are simply a function of partisan politics. Central States will be focused on results and hope others will be similarly motivated.
WHAT IS CENTRAL STATES’ POSITION ON THE BUTCH LEWIS ACT (CURRENTLY REINTRODUCED IN THE HOUSE AS THE REHABILITATION FOR MULTIEMPLOYER PENSIONS ACT)?
As stated above, Central States Pension Fund supports any legislative solution that protects participants’ benefits, and we are committed to working constructively with Congress to achieve that solution. In fact, Central States provided Congress with an analysis of the Butch Lewis Act concluding that based on reasonable assumptions; the bill would resolve the dire financial issues facing our Fund.
WHY HASN’T THERE BEEN A VOTE IN CONGRESS ON THE BUTCH LEWIS ACT?
The Butch Lewis Act was introduced in both the House and Senate during the last Congress, but unfortunately it did not attract broad bipartisan support. The committees of jurisdiction in both chambers did not hold any hearings on the bill, and neither chamber scheduled the bill for a vote.
Congressional leaders are continuing their discussions to reach a bipartisan solution that can pass both houses of Congress and be signed by the President into law.