On Thursday, Sept. 11, both bargaining committees met together with management.
Management brought two pension experts to the meeting, they explained financial details involving the company’s proposed withdrawal from The Newspaper Guild International Pension Fund, a multi-employer plan, and answered questions as well.
The pair confirmed that under a withdrawal from the pension plan, contributions to the plan would end but participants would still receive benefits earned to date. If withdrawal were to happen prior to June 1, 2015, the date the plan’s recovery plan commitment ends, there would be additional negative impacts on participants. Early retirement and disability benefits would no longer be available, so participants would have to wait until age 65 to begin receiving their monthly pension check. People under age 65 that are currently receiving an early or disability pension would lose their monthly check and would have to wait until age 65 to commence their benefit again.
Management claims its desire to withdraw from the plan is due to the growing and unpredictable withdrawal liability. The experts said liability is determined by numerous factors including interest rates, market return on assets, participating employer withdrawals and contribution amounts in relation to all contributing employers.
Based on the presentation from the experts, it doesn’t appear that the withdrawal liability will increase over the next year.
The Guild on Thursday proposed to extend the newsroom and non-newsroom contracts for one year with no changes. The company will respond to that proposal at our next bargaining session in early October.
Guild Non-Newsroom Bargaining Committee: Paulette Shrefler, Kathy Rudolph, Laurie Faliano, Sam DeLeo, Colleen Campbell, Kristin Baldwin, Kelly Mortensen, Steve Wielgosz, Chris Wint and Theresa Burt.
Guild Newsroom Bargaining Committee: Kieran Nicholson, Jim Ludvik, LeAnna Efird, Allen Daniel, Craig Walker, Joey Bunch, Kevin Hamm and Emilie Rusch.