FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2018
Contact: Jack Jacobson
202-637- 6820 (w); 202-251- 7644 (c)
Construction Employers Endorse “GROW Act”, Urge Swift Passage
Bipartisan Legislation would Modernize Multiemployer Retirement Plans
Washington, DC – The Construction Employers of America lauded the introduction of the bipartisan “The Growing Retirement Options for Workers (GROW) Act,” sponsored by Reps. Phil Roe (R-TN) and Donald Norcross (D-NJ). The GROW Act would modernize the multiemployer pension system by authorizing composite plans, which combine the most popular features of defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans.
“Passage of the GROW Act is essential to the continued viability of the multiemployer pensions offered by specialty trade contractors,” said Jack Jacobson, spokesperson for Construction Employers of America. “This voluntary option, which was conceived of jointly by workers and employers, would provide our members and their workers another pension plan option. Composite plans would ensure lifetime benefits for employees while reducing risk and financial burdens for employers who are proud to provide lifetime benefits to their workforce but who worry about an unstable system that could bankrupt them.”
Composite plans have been stressed tested and are currently utilized by many employers in Canada. Composite plans would provide employees a lifetime of annuity income from professionally-managed pensions approved by employers and employees. They would provide greater financial stability and certainty for employers who are being forced to exit the current multiemployer pension system, which has left the system weakened and at risk of collapse.
As the country’s employers have moved away from defined benefit plans, more Americans are struggling to save enough money to enjoy a secure retirement. CEA employers believe it is important to enact this responsible solution that would provide lifetime retirement benefits for their employees but would not threaten the viability of their businesses. Labor and management worked together for over 18 months to produce this proposal that would benefit both employers and their workers.
“Enactment of the GROW Act is critical to our ability to provide long-term retirement security to our employees,” continued Jacobson. “Composite plans are fiscally responsible and would provide employers and employees greater flexibility when selecting a pension plan. The current ‘two-size-fits-all’ gives a false option that limits benefits or hamstrings employers.”
Employees who have retired would continue to receive their current benefits without interruption. When a company and its current employees agree to transition to composite plans, benefits accrued under defined benefit plans would be preserved; moving forward, those employees would contribute to and receive future retirement benefits through the new composite plan system. New employees would be fully enrolled in the composite plan.
“This is common sense legislation is a thoughtful and rational way to modernize our multiemployer pension system without harming employees or companies, and without burdening taxpayers,” said Jacobson. “Congress should take up and pass this legislation without delay.”
CEA’s seven employer associations include FCA International, International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, National Electrical Contractors Association, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, Signatory Wall and Ceiling Contractors Alliance, and The Association of Union Constructors. Our impact on the American economy is significant. We represent over 15,000 employers and 1.4 million employees nationwide. More information about CEA and our issues can be found online at www.constructionemployersofamerica.com.
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