President's Corner


January 2021 Light at the End of the Tunnel

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Jim Sweeney Announces Pension Improvements at General Membership Meeting

At the General Membership Meeting on July 16th, President-Business Manager Sweeney provided updates on union business and the status of the benefit funds, and also announced benefit improvements that are being implemented by the Pension Fund.

In September 2019, members voted to end future bucket contributions and accrue the entire pension contribution from April 1, 2020 forward.

As steep market losses resulting from the pandemic threatened the health of the Pension Fund in March 2020, Trustees voted to postpone that benefit improvement. Over the next year, however, the markets recovered and the Pension Fund saw returns of 34% in its most recent Fiscal Year.

This return allowed the Trustees to make the following improvements to the Pension Fund, which were announced at the General Membership Meeting:

For members who are active as of June 1, 2021, the previously mentioned improvement has been implemented, and is retroactive back to its originally intended date of April 1, 2020. Meaning that as of April 1, 2020, members’ entire pension contribution will be accrued at the current multiplier, and there will be no “bucket” contributions from that day forward.

Active members will see a substantial increase in their projected monthly benefit based on these improvements. Personalized statements will be mailed out in September in place of regular quarterly statements. Members will be able to see the direct impact of this improvement on their pension benefits.

Members whose retirement effective date was on or before June 1, 2021 will receive a partial bucket repayment 13th check in December, for 40% of their total bucket contributions plus 2% interest. These payments will be direct deposited and federal income tax will be withheld at a rate of 20%. Any retiree who had contributed less than $500 into the bucket will receive the entire balance, with 2% interest.  A letter detailing the amount of the 13th check will be sent out to all retirees by mid-August so please do not contact the Fund office regarding your specific payment amount. 

In addition, the Pension Fund’s Post Retirement Lump Sum death benefit was increased from $10,000 to $20,000 and is now structured as an insurance policy, which makes it tax-free.

Retired members will receive a direct deposit for their partial bucket repayment 13th checks in December. 

For more information, please read the upcoming edition of the Local 150 Engineer.