ARLINGTON, VA – Stephen R. Lindauer, CEO of The Association of Union Constructors (TAUC), issued the following statement regarding the passage by Congress of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, which contains substantial reforms to the existing multiemployer pension system. For more information on these reforms, please visit www.tauc.org/pensionreform.
“The passage of multiemployer pension reform is a monumental achievement, one that TAUC and the entire union construction and maintenance industry can proudly celebrate. It is an early Christmas present for a pension system desperately in need of modernization and reform.
“TAUC was a major stakeholder in the pension reform debate and participated closely with our allies in numerous industries (not just our own), as well as the building trades, plan trustees and members of the financial community. TAUC also served on the influential National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans’ (NCCMP) Retirement Security Review Commission, which authored Solutions Not Bailouts, a blueprint for effective and long-term pension reform.
“Many of our member contractors donated their time and financial resources to push the cause of reform as well. From providing financial support, to traveling to Washington and personally visiting their Congressional representatives, these members demonstrated their deep commitment not only to existing and future retirees, but to the longevity of our very industry.
“We are extremely pleased that Congress chose to adopt major portions of the Solutions Not Bailout reform proposal in the final legislation. It is no secret that TAUC is often critical of actions taken on Capitol Hill. In this instance, however, our elected legislators exhibited admirable foresight and wisdom by hewing closely to the recommendations of the NCCMP Retirement Security Review Commission.
“In addition to our Congressional allies, TAUC wishes to thank several individuals and organizations for their tireless efforts over the past two years. The members of the NCCMP Commission deserve a special thanks for taking on an extremely complex and time-consuming task. NCCMP Executive Director Randy DeFrehn and his staff deserve praise for their tireless efforts over the past two years. And Sean McGarvey, President of North America’s Building Trades Unions, was a trusted ally who realized the enormity of the problem early on. He showed true leadership by making the extremely tough decision to back the Solutions Not Bailouts proposal despite fierce opposition from some corners of the labor movement.
“However, despite the magnitude of our recent victory, the battle is not over, and our work is not yet complete. We must now turn our attention to implementing a major portion of the Solutions Not Bailouts proposal that unfortunately did not make it into the final legislation: giving plan trustees the authority to implement new and innovative plan designs to ensure long-term stability and solvency for plan participants. In order for this to happen, Congress will need to pass companion legislation in the 2015 Congressional session. It is imperative that the union construction and maintenance industry maintain the strong ties of cooperation that have been forged with numerous stakeholders over the past two years to finish the job we started.
“Decades from now, pension experts will cite 2013 and 2014 as the Years of Reform, when a diverse group of stakeholders rolled up their sleeves and did what had to be done to save a vital component of the American dream. As for 2015, let’s make sure it goes down in history as the Year of Innovation – the year when the same coalition returned to fight one final battle and give plan trustees the tools they need to ensure a strong and vibrant multiemployer pension system for generations to come.”