On December 16, the Iron Workers Local 17 Pension Fund (the Iron Workers Fund) became the first multiemployer pension plan to receive approval from the US Department of the Treasury (the Treasury Department) to cut benefits for participants as part of a proposed rescue plan under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA). MPRA permits trustees of a significantly underfunded pension plan to apply to the Secretary of the Treasury Department to reduce participants’ benefits if (1) the plan is headed for insolvency within 15 years from the time the rescue plan would be implemented and (2) the trustees have exhausted all other means to avoid insolvency.

An anti-assignment provision can be an effective tool for ERISA-governed health plans to fend off lawsuits from out-of network providers.
Congratulations to Randall (Randy) C. McGeorge on his election to the Morgan Lewis partnership in our employee benefits and executive compensation practice!
The same day that it rejected Central States Pension Fund’s benefit suspension application, the US Department of the Treasury explained to Congress its reasons for doing so. In a May 10 letter from Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew to congressional leaders with jurisdiction over the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA), the Treasury Department advised that Central States Pension Fund’s application failed to meet several of the MPRA’s technical requirements.
The US Department of the Treasury today rejected Central States Pension Fund’s application for benefit suspensions under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA).
The US District Court for the District of Massachusetts recently ruled that two private equity funds were trades or businesses and in common control with a bankrupt company, and thereby liable for the multiemployer pension plan withdrawal liability obligations of the bankrupt company.
On March 31, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) released a report showing that the current assets of its multiemployer insurance program are a small fraction of the amount needed to cover the guaranteed benefits for more than 1 million people whose plans are expected to become insolvent in the next decade.
On February 9, the US Department of the Treasury (Treasury) released additional proposed regulations implementing the benefit suspension provisions of the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA).