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Sat Dec 6, 2014, 11:07 PM

The lame-duck Congress plots to undermine retiree pensions




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http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-worker-pensions-20141205-column.html


http://www.trbimg.com/img-54824545/turbine/la-fi-mh-worker-pensions-20141205-001/750/750x422

But what's the rush? Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, who is pressing to conclude a deal on multiemployer pension plan problems before he leaves office this month. (Harry Hamburg / AP)

12-5-14

ssing legislation on a tight deadline--especially a bogus deadline--is invariably a formula for serious mischief. That's what's happening with a proposal to deal with a supposed crisis in worker pensions by allowing trustees to slash the pensions of already-retired workers to shreds.

Members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee are trying to slip the measure into an omnibus spending bill to be passed before Dec. 11, when Congress leaves Washington for its vacation recess. Pension advocates are up in arms, not least because the measure's actual language hasn't been made public. (It's still in negotiation, committee staffers say.) What is known is that it would change four decades of labor law in a way that mostly affects the oldest and most vulnerable workers.

"There's no bill, no legislative language," David Certner, legislative counsel to AARP, told me Friday. "To attach this big a change to a year-end spending bill is outrageous."

What's at issue is the condition of so-called multiemployer pension plans. These are defined benefit pensions in industries comprising lots of relatively small employers. The plans often are sponsored by unions, who share trustee duties with employer representatives.

FULL story at link.

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