Butch Lewis Act is Undermined by Key Lobbying Group

Butch Lewis Watch – Installment #4

By Jonathan Kantor


As many of you know, the Butch Lewis Act would extend government guaranteed loans to plans like AFM-EPF, avoiding any necessity for cuts to accrued pension benefits. But a powerful lobbying organization that purports to represent the interests of multiemployer plans like the AFM-EPF wants to make the loan assistance program under the Butch Lewis Act beyond the reach of plans like AFM-EPF. And they want to make it much easier for trustees to cut pensions when they want to. 
  
That lobbying organization is the NCCMP. As you may recall, NCCMP is the trade association in Washington for multiemployer plans. It was instrumental in the formulation of MPRA, the 2014 law that allows trustees to cut accrued pension benefits.  

In a recent speech (read it here), NCCMP’s Executive Director Michael Scott unveiled NCCMP’s position on the Butch Lewis Act. There are two NCCMP proposals musicians should be aware of:

First, NCCMP wants trustees to have virtually unfettered ability to cut benefits for any plan that is in trouble. NCCMP proposes to radically change the current requirement that cuts can only take place after a rigorous review by the US Treasury Department. NCCMP wants to change this by forcing Treasury to accept the trustees’ cut applications unless those applications are in their entirety “clearly erroneous.” (Although the “clearly erroneous” standard exists in current law, Treasury applies this standard very narrowly.) 

Second, the NCCMP has proposed that federal loan assistance not be available to plans like AFM-EPF. Under NCCMP’s proposal, the only plans eligible to receive government-backed loans would be plans that cannot get US Treasury approval of their cut applications. But since NCCMP is also proposing that cut applications will be virtually automatically approved, the loans would be extended to only a handful of programs that cannot get their cuts approved. 

The Butch Lewis Act was proposed in the Senate and the House to help all multiemployer pension plans in trouble, including AFM-EPF. NCCMP now wants to make the loan assistance program under Butch Lewis beyond the reach of plans like AFM-EPF. And they want to make it much easier for trustees to cut pensions when they want to. 

Click below to see MPS' previous articles on the NCCMP:
NCCMP Tries to Undermine Butch Lewis Act
AFM-EPF Trustees Have Deep Ties to NCCMP