Washington, D.C. – The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers (Iron Workers) celebrates the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation’s (PBGC) approval of Special Financial Assistance (SFA) to address the needs of Cleveland Iron Workers Local 17’s pension plan. PBGC made the announcement on Wednesday.
The Iron Workers Local 17's pension fund covers over 1,900 participants. PBGC’s approval of the SFA application enables the Iron Workers Local 17’s pension plan to restore benefits suspended under the terms of the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act. It enables payments to retirees to cover prior benefit suspensions.
This relief is the first of its kind to come to an Iron Workers’ pension plan. It is a life-changing moment for thousands of active ironworkers, retirees, and their families. The benefits that will be restored are far more meaningful than a simple increase in income.
“We look forward to working with the PBGC to fix additional distressed pension plans and restore the dignified retirements that these ironworkers have worked so hard for,” said Iron Workers General President Eric Dean. “Our union has fought for changes to the multiemployer pension system for decades to ensure ironworkers in every one of our plans have the same opportunity to retire with dignity.”
The turbulence of the last few years has left many members in critical plans facing an uncertainty of what their retirement will look like. This groundbreaking announcement would be impossible without the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). ARPA calls for special financial assistance to restore benefits to workers and retirees who have taken cuts. This is the largest ever rescue of the pension system and it makes retirement more secure for working people everywhere.