Tell Congress to Protect Your Pension Benefits
For more than two years, Congress has been working to reach agreement on a solution to address the dire solvency issues faced by over 115 multiemployer pension plans across the U.S., including the American Federation of Musicians and Employers' Pension Fund (AFM-EPF). Multiple legislative proposals have surfaced, but none has so far received the bipartisan support necessary to pass both chambers of Congress and be signed into law by the President.
The economic crisis caused by COVID-19 is now making the situation significantly worse for multiemployer plans. In response, Congress and the White House are considering whether to include assistance for struggling multiemployer pension plans in the next COVID-19 relief bill. The AFM-EPF Trustees have been working alongside other multiemployer plans, unions and employers to urge Congress to include a bipartisan compromise that will support multiemployer pension plans and participants.
A new legislative proposal, the "Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act,"
has emerged during the COVID-19 relief discussions. This proposal would allow struggling multiemployer pension plans – including the AFM-EPF – to "partition" in order to remain solvent in the future (which means that they would transfer a portion of participants' benefit liabilities to a second plan administered by the Trustees but funded by the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation [PBGC]). It would also provide government funding to the PBGC to pay participants' benefits, and it would avoid benefit reductions and other measures that would harm multiemployer plans and participants. The Trustees strongly support this proposal.
Proposed solutions include the "Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act" (also known as the "Butch Lewis Act"), which would provide low-interest government loans to struggling multiemployer plans, including the AFM-EPF. If necessary, these loans can be coupled with additional financial assistance from the PBGC. The Trustees continue to support this legislation.
A second legislative proposal by Senators Charles Grassley and Lamar Alexander would allow struggling multiemployer pension plans, including the AFM-EPF, to "partition" in order to remain solvent in the future. The Trustees do not support the proposal as drafted because it has serious flaws that would negatively affect our participants, our Plan and the multiemployer system as a whole.
The Trustees (as well as the AFM and Plan employers) will continue advocating to Members of Congress that they move with urgency to produce a bipartisan solution that fully solves this crisis and treats our participants fairly. Congressional negotiations over the next COVID-19 bill are underway, but it is unclear how long they will last. There may be key moments in the future when it will be especially important for AFM-EPF participants to make their voices heard. We will keep you informed and alert you if and when such opportunities arise.
You can use the information below to:
Identify Your Members of Congress
- Identify your Members of Congress
- Plan what to say
- Call your Members of Congress
- Email your Members of Congress
and enter your address to find your Members of Congress.
Plan What to Say
Whether you are calling or emailing your Members of Congress, you will first need to tell them where you live (so that they know you are a constituent) and why you're reaching out. For example:
Remember, the most important thing is to tell your own story.
- My name is _____ and I live in [City, State].
- I am one of 50,000 participants in the American Federation of Musicians and Employers' Pension Fund. My Pension Plan is in "critical and declining" status and is projected to run out of money to pay our benefits. Because of that, the Pension Plan has applied to reduce our benefits under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act, effective January 1, 2021.
- We need Congress to take action now to protect our retirement security, especially considering the new economic crisis caused by COVID-19.
- The Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act would provide a sensible solution by allowing struggling multiemployer pension plans to "partition" in order to remain solvent in the future.
- Please don't pass any legislation that would cause harm to participants or multiemployer plans.
- It is vital that the House and Senate agree on a bipartisan solution that restores the health of my Plan and the more than 115 other multiemployer pension plans across the nation facing insolvency.
Be polite, but make sure they understand that this issue is important to you, and that it will most definitely play a large role in how you vote in future elections.
Call your Members of Congress
Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and follow the prompts to reach the offices of your Members of Congress. You will either reach a staff member or be asked to leave a voicemail.
Email your Members of Congress
Use the button below to send an email to your Members of Congress. The forms contain suggested text, but it is important that you tell your own story.