The New England Teamsters’ pension fund is $5.1 billion dollars underfunded, according to the Boston Globe. The New England Teamsters’ pension plan covers more than 72,000 truck drivers and warehouse workers represented by the New England Teamsters Union across many employers. Only one other United States multi-employer pension plan is more underfunded than the New England Teamsters Plan – the Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Plan, which reportedly has an underfunded liability of $22.9 billion dollars. The Boston Globe reported that, across the United States, 121 multi-employer plans covering 1.3 million employees are underfunded by a total of $48.9 billion dollars. Those plans have told regulators they may become insolvent within 20 years. A combination of factors led to the financial crisis of multi-employer pension plans – the downturn of the stock market during the Great Recession, declining industries resulting in fewer active participants, employees who do not wish to join unions, and employers exiting the plans either through bankruptcy or by withdrawing from the plans, leaving the remaining employers responsible for the unfunded liabilities.
Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can reach Matt by calling him at (614) 843-3041 or emailing him at Matt@MattAustinLaborLaw.com.