On Wednesday, March 17th, AFM-EPF Trustees agreed to withdraw the pending Multiemployer Pension Reform Act (MPRA) application. With the passage of the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the need for proposed AFM-EPF benefit reductions in the forthcoming years has been eliminated.
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) legislation has created a special financial assistance fund under the Treasury Department from which the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) will be able to make grants to financially troubled multiemployer pension plans. Our AFM-EPF pension plan is one of more than 100 multiemployer union pensions in critical status because of aging demographics, declining participation, and reduced contributions. As a result of the newly passed legislation, these plans will not have to repay this financial assistance.
Working people around the country fought to be heard by our legislators, and we won a huge victory in putting our pension plan back on level footing. We are now able to avoid proposed benefit reductions and can offer members a solvent pension for the next 30 years.
While we can breathe a sigh of relief that our fund is no longer at immediate risk, we must all work together going forward to ensure our pension not only survives but thrives. This means increasing pension contributions in our existing contracts, securing pension contributions in new contracts, and including pension in our local wage scales for single engagement work. Make no mistake: employers and naysayers will continue to attack our union and our pension fund to resist further contributions. It is crucial that we all stand together to ensure our fund grows and prospers not only for ourselves, but for all those who will come after us.
Again, I want to thank you for all of the emails, calls, and other ways that you made your voice heard with your elected officials, especially over the past several weeks. We would never have achieved this historic victory without the unified legislative lobbying efforts of our members, fund participants, locals, and player conferences.
International AFM President