Trustees Investigate Cuts

Documents Show Trustees Know More Than They Reveal About Potential for Benefit Cuts

AFM President Ray Hair hosted a “Webinar” for pension plan participants on January 29. When asked, President Hair and the other participants would not shed any light on the extent of the possible benefit cuts: “At this time, we just don’t know,” they said. Hair and the other trustees may not know exactly how extensive or when the cuts will happen, but according to their own documents recently obtained by MPS (linked below), it seems that they know far more about the potential for benefit cuts then they let on. Here is a summary:

  1. The trustees began actively considering cutting our pensions beginning at their August 4, 2015 meeting, targeting 25-30% cuts beginning in February 2016. (Supporting docs here)
  2. It took Ray Hair and our other trustees a year and a half after that August 2015 meeting before they snuck the bad news of potential cuts to existing benefits into a letter to plan participants in December of 2016. (Read it here)
  3. It is true that the trustees have not formally decided to make the cuts yet. That decision will be made in June of this year. However, the trustees’ last “Base Case” (what they expect to happen) projection from just two months ago, dated December 18, 2017, calls for cuts in 2018 (Projections here). 
  4. The prospect of cuts to our existing benefits is so real that the AFM fund’s actuary, Milliman, is already engaged in discussions with the key members of the US Treasury, which will be making the decision whether or not to approve the cuts. In those discussions, Treasury gave “informal nonbinding guidance” on how best to fashion the cut application. These discussions were initiated on November 1, 2017. (See here.)

The AFM-EPF trustees have repeatedly pledged to be transparent with us and yet none of the above information was discussed or revealed in January when the trustees were asked about it.  Keep in mind, the AFM-EPF webinar in late January was just six weeks after the trustees were discussing benefit cuts at their December 18, 2017 meetings. When asked about cuts AFM President Ray Hair only said, “At this time, we just don’t know,” but according to their own documents, he and the other trustees have a very good idea.

In solidarity,

Musicians for Pension Security

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