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News & Policy

Federal Pension Insurer Safeguards Benefits of Acme Metals Workers

August 22, 2002

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) today announced it has moved to protect the pension benefits of more than 3,800 people who worked for Acme Metals, Inc., a bankrupt producer of steel and steel fabricated products based in Riverdale, Ill.

"PBGC has stepped in as trustee of the pension plan because the company is liquidating its assets in bankruptcy and can no longer maintain the plan," said PBGC Executive Director Steven A. Kandarian. "The PBGC insurance program will protect the basic pension benefits of Acme Metals workers. Retirees will continue to receive their monthly checks up to guaranteed federal limits, and other employees will receive benefits when they are eligible to retire."

With about $157 million in assets to cover almost $327 in benefit liabilities, the Consolidated Pension Plan for Acme Salaried and Hourly Employees is underfunded by about $170 million, according to PBGC estimates. The agency will take over the plan's assets and use PBGC insurance funds to pay the guaranteed pension benefits of covered workers.

The Acme Metals pension plan was terminated as of June 1, 2002. Under federal pension law, the maximum pension guaranteed for workers in plans that terminated in 2002 is $3,579 a month (or $42,954 a year) for persons retiring at age 65. Maximum guarantees are adjusted for retirees older or younger than age 65 and for those who choose survivor benefits.

Acme Packaging Corp., a subsidiary of Acme Metals, intends to remain ongoing and to continue two small pension plans, covering workers at facilities in Bay Point, Calif. and New Britain, Conn.

Workers and retirees do not need to take any action. Those who have questions may contact the PBGC Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-800-400-7242. For TTY/TDD users, call the federal relay service toll-free at 1-800-877-8339 and ask to be connected to 800-400-7242. Further information about PBGC's pension insurance program is available at the agency Web site,

PBGC is a federal corporation created under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. It currently guarantees payment of basic pension benefits for about 44 million American workers and retirees participating in over 35,000 private-sector defined benefit pension plans. The agency receives no funds from general tax revenues. Operations are financed largely by insurance premiums paid by companies that sponsor pension plans and by PBGC's investment returns.

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PBGC No. 02-37