The Pension Fund is a joint labor-management trust fund established in 1967 by LIUNA and employers for the primary purpose of providing retirement income for LIUNA-represented employees working in various industries other than the building and construction industry. LIUNA determined that the pension funds designed for building and construction industry workers were often not appropriate for the varying circumstances of the many other industries in which LIUNA members were employed. The Pension Fund was designed to meet the needs and circumstances of these other industries by including flexible features like multiple contribution rates and benefit levels.
The Pension Fund’s innovative features have attracted many groups of LIUNA-represented employees into participation. As of December 2016, over 750 employee groups are participating in the Pension Fund. Since the beginning, the Pension Fund has paid hundreds of millions of Dollars in pension benefits to LIUNA-represented employees and their families. Currently it is paying benefits to pensioners and beneficiaries at the rate of more than $85 million per year.
Here are some important facts about the Pension Fund:
The Pension Fund is regulated by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), a federal law that requires employee pension plans to meet certain reporting and disclosure, auditing, participation, vesting, benefit accrual, funding, fiduciary, and other standards. The Pension Fund is a multi-employer plan within the meaning of ERISA.
The Pension Fund is a tax-qualified pension plan under Internal Revenue Code Section 401(a) and a tax-exempt trust under Code Section 501(a). Employer contributions are tax-deductible by the employers and not taxable to employees. Retirees are taxed on benefits when received.
The Pension Fund’s benefits are guaranteed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), an agency of the U. S. Government established by ERISA.
The Pension Fund complies with the Labor Management Relations (“Taft-Hartley”) Act, Section 302(c)(5). Accordingly, employer contributions are authorized under that Act.
The Pension Fund is a defined benefit pension plan that offers multiple levels of benefits based on the contribution rate and length of covered employment. The normal form of pension benefit is a life annuity (fixed monthly benefit for life) or joint and survivor annuity (for married pensioners). Pensioners do not have to worry about out-living their retirement income. Normal, early and disability pensions are payable to eligible participants.
The Pension Fund may grant “past service” pension credit for employment before the Employer began to contribute to the Pension Fund, depending on the actuarial characteristics of the employee group and whether the group continues to participate in the Pension Fund.
The Pension Fund is a pooled fund. Benefits are based on the benefit schedule and Paid from a common fund. The Pension Fund’s assets are invested as a pool, in diversified portfolios, by investment professionals hired by the Board of Trustees. The Pension Fund is Not an individual account plan that limits a participant’s benefits to the amount in his account or that requires participants to make investment decisions.
The Pension Fund is funded by employer contributions and investments of the Pension Fund’s assets. Employers are required by their collective bargaining agreements to make contributions at certain rates to the Pension Fund. Contributions are based on hours, days, weeks or months for which employees covered by the agreement are paid, or a percentage of salary.
The Pension Fund has a diversified contribution base. It receives contributions from hundreds of employers in many different industries throughout the Nation. Among these are construction materials suppliers, transportation, landscaping, maintenance, health care, manufacturing, recreation and sports, and government and public employment. Many public employee groups participate in the Pension Fund. The Pension Fund qualifies as a supplemental, public employee pension plan under Special legislation in a number of States including California and Rhode Island.
The Pension Fund automatically covers every employee in the bargaining unit once The unit is accepted into participation. An employee does not have to elect to Participate in the Pension Fund.
The Pension Fund provides portable pension coverage. A participant can move from one contributing employer to another and maintain his or her coverage and credits. The Pension Fund is also signatory to the LIUNA National Reciprocal Agreement that generally combines a participant’s credit under two or more Laborer’s pension funds for purposes of vesting and bridging breaks in service.
The Pension Fund is administered by a joint labor-management Board of Trustees.The Board maintains an administrative office (the Fund Office) in Washington, D. C. Which is headed by the Fund Administrator and is fully staffed and equipped. The Board employs a full complement of professionals, including actuaries, accountants, and attorneys.