Trustees Endorse Butch Lewis Act Thanks to Pressure from AFM Members


Yesterday evening the AFM-EPF trustees sent out an email informing plan participants of their decision to support the Butch Lewis Act. We want to commend the trustees for finally acting on what is in the best interest of all plan participants. 
MPS first approached the trustees about Senator Sherrod Brown’s then pension proposal as far back as July. In October, we asked the trustees to allow Senator Brown’s actuaries to analyze the AFM-EPF plan data to show the benefits his proposal would have on our fund. After meeting with Senator Brown’s staff on November 2, it still took another seven weeks for the AFM-EPF trustees to decide that the Butch Lewis Act would help our troubled pension fund.

Supporting the Butch Lewis Act is a step in the right direction for the AFM-EPF trustees. However, plan participants must continue to hold the trustees accountable for their actions both past and present. In 2014 when our trustees helped write and pass MPRA (the law that allows trustees to cut existing benefits) they were actively engaged in Washington D.C. lobbying on behalf of the legislation and spent money to support its passage. We must demand that in the coming weeks our AFM-EPF trustees publicly show that same level of support for the Butch Lewis Act. 
Recently, MPS joined with many important unions and multi-employer pension plans to oppose the efforts of the NCCMP and others to undermine the Butch Lewis Act with “composite plan” legislation. (See the coalition statement here) The composite plan proposal was part of the original MPRA proposal in 2014, but didn’t make it into the final law. NCCMP has been pursuing it ever since. In the last few weeks, they have dramatically ramped up their efforts. Moving forward, MPS will again reach out to the AFM-EPF trustees in hopes of working together to find new ways in which we can support the Butch Lewis Act. First, we will ask the trustees to join MPS and sign on to the coalition statement disavowing the composite proposal because it is not in the interests of the plan participants of AFM-EPF.
MPS wants to thank all the AFM members across the country who are actively engaged in the fight to protect our pension. Whether it was talking to a colleague at intermission or calling Ray Hair’s office it was your hard work, your organizing, your phone calls, and your emails that created the pressure which led our trustees to finally act. For many years, our trustees pursued and supported MPRA. Now, because of your efforts, our trustees are forced to seriously consider new legislative solutions in Washington D.C., like the Butch Lewis Act, that don’t start with cuts to benefits.
Since MPS was founded, it has been our mission to bring together AFM musicians across the country in search of more information about the state of our pension and, ultimately, to demand more transparency and accountability from the AFM-EPF Trustees. With your input and participation, we have become a national force working towards a sustainable long-term plan for a secure pension. 
The coming weeks will show plan participants just how serious the AFM-EPF trustees are in supporting the Butch Lewis Act.