PBGC Protects Pensions at Oneida Ltd.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 06, 2006
WASHINGTON-The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) today announced it has assumed responsibility for the pensions of nearly 1,900 workers and retirees of Oneida Ltd., a multinational distributor of tableware and kitchenware products based in Oneida, N.Y.
Oneida filed for bankruptcy protection on March 19, 2006 and subsequently asked the bankruptcy court to approve termination of its underfunded Retirement Plan for Employees of Oneida Ltd. The court has ruled that Oneida and each of its eight bankrupt affiliates satisfy the legal test for terminating the plan, and the PBGC has determined that the company meets all criteria under federal law to transfer the plan's liabilities to the pension insurance program.
The Retirement Plan for Employees of Oneida Ltd. ended as of May 31, 2006. The plan is 31 percent funded, with $21.6 million in assets to cover $72 million in promised benefits. The PBGC estimates that it will be responsible for $48.3 million of the $50.4 million shortfall. Oneida's two other pension plans, the Buffalo China Salaried Plan and the Buffalo China Union Plan, will remain ongoing under the company's sponsorship.
Workers covered by the Retirement Plan for Employees of Oneida Ltd. will receive their pension benefits from the PBGC, up to the limits set by law. Retirees will continue to receive monthly benefit checks without interruption, and other workers will receive their pensions when eligible to retire. Under federal pension law, the maximum guaranteed pension at age 65 for participants in plans that terminate in 2006 is $47,659 per year. The maximum guaranteed amount is lower for those who retire earlier or elect survivor benefits. In addition, certain early retirement subsidies and benefit increases made within the past five years may not be fully guaranteed.
Within the next several weeks, the PBGC will send trusteeship notification letters to all participants in the terminated plan. Workers and retirees with questions may consult the PBGC Web site,www.pbgc.gov or call toll-free at 1-800-400-7242.For TTY/TDD users, call the federal relay service by dialing 711 and asking for 800-400-7242.
Retirees of Oneida Ltd. who draw a benefit from the PBGC may be eligible for the federal Health Coverage Tax Credit. Further information may be found on the PBGC Web site at
The PBGC is a federal corporation created under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. It currently guarantees payment of basic pension benefits earned by 44 million American workers and retirees participating in over 30,000 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 investment returns.
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PBGC No. 06-64