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Working Paper

Multiemployer Pension Plans Respond to the Financial Crisis

Judith F. Mazo and Eli Greenblum

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Abstract — Multiemployer pension plans cover union-represented participants who work for two or more employers. Plan assets and liabilities are pooled, so the risks and rewards are experienced by the group as a whole. Union and employer representatives collaborate in setting plan policy, defining benefits, and overseeing investments and operations; each side has an equal say. This chapter describes how, spurred by the Pension Protection Act's new requirements and flexibility, multiemployer plans are adapting to the crisis with a mix of benefit reductions and employer contribution increases aimed at stabilizing their finances, rather than phasing out their defined benefit programs – at least for now.