The Inner-Workings of the PBGC Taking Over Union Pension Plans

Many of my clients are suffocating under the weight of unfunded pension liabilities. They ask me what happens if they sell the company, what happens if they get rid of the union, what happens if they file bankruptcy, etc. While answering each of those questions depends on a myriad of specific facts and legal analysis, here is a peek behind Reichhold, Inc.’s plans to sell its assets in bankruptcy and abandon its employees’ union pension plan. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) will take over the pension plan and pay the retirement benefits for more than 4,500 current and future retirees of Reichold. The retirement plan is 70% funded leaving a $97 million shortfall of which the PBGC will cover $90 million. Employees who retire at age 65 with a 100% vested pension will be eligible for up to $59,320 per year.

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