WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) announced today that it has approved the application submitted to the Special Financial Assistance (SFA) Program by the Pension Plan of the Printers League - Graphic Communications International Union Local 119B (GCIU Local 119B Plan). The plan, based in East Farmingdale, New York, covers 1,213 participants in the printing industry.
The GCIU Local 119B Plan became insolvent in August 2021. At that time, PBGC started providing financial assistance to the plan. As required by law, the GCIU Local 119B Plan reduced participants’ benefits to the PBGC guarantee levels, which was roughly 31 percent below the benefits payable under the terms of the plan.
PBGC's approval of the SFA application enables the plan to restore benefit reductions caused by the plan’s insolvency and to make payments to retirees to cover prior benefit reductions. SFA will enable the plan to pay retirement benefits without reduction for many years into the future. The plan will receive $85.2 million in SFA, including interest to the expected date of payment to the plan.
"These 1,213 printers went to work with the promise of a pension when they retired. Today, the Biden-Harris Administration has fulfilled that promise," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, chair of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Board of Directors. "Under President Biden's American Rescue Plan, the Pension Plan of the Printers League - Graphic Communications International Union Local 119B received Special Financial Assistance to deliver the pensions that these workers have earned."
This application was submitted and approved under PBGC's interim final rule. PBGC’s final rule, published last month, becomes effective on August 8.
About the Special Financial Assistance Program
The SFA Program was enacted as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP). The program provides funding to severely underfunded multiemployer pension plans and will ensure that millions of America’s workers, retirees, and their families receive the pension benefits they earned through many years of hard work.
The SFA Program requires plans to demonstrate eligibility for SFA and to calculate the amount of assistance pursuant to ARP and PBGC’s regulations. SFA and earnings thereon must be segregated from other plan assets and may be used only to pay plan benefits and administrative expenses. Plans are not obligated to repay SFA to PBGC. Plans receiving SFA are also subject to certain terms, conditions and reporting requirements, including for an annual statement documenting compliance with the terms and conditions. PBGC is authorized to conduct periodic audits of multiemployer plans that receive SFA.
The SFA Program is currently operating under an Interim Final Rule which was published in the Federal Register on July 12, 2021. Last month on July 8, 2022, PBGC published a Final Rule, which will become effective on August 8, 2022.
As of July 29, 2022, PBGC has approved over $7.4 billion to plans that cover over 149,000 workers and retirees.
PBGC protects the retirement security of over 33 million American workers, retirees, and beneficiaries in both single-employer and multiemployer private sector pension plans. The agency’s two insurance programs are legally separate and operationally and financially independent. PBGC is directly responsible for the benefits of more than 1.5 million participants and beneficiaries in failed pension plans. The Single-Employer Insurance Program is financed by insurance premiums, investment income, and assets and recoveries from failed single-employer plans. The Multiemployer Insurance Program is financed by insurance premiums. Special financial assistance for financially troubled multiemployer plans is financed by general taxpayer money.