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WASHINGTON -- the U.S. Senate late last week passed what has been called the most comprehensive pension reform legislation in more than 30 years -- thanks in part to solid support from some major players in the food industry as members of the Multiemployer Pension Plan Coalition.
The Pension Protection Act of 2006, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives as H.R. 4 two weeks ago, aims to secure the long-term financial health of many endangered multiemployer pension plans whose financial security was imperiled by the contraction of U. S. equity markets early this decade. The bill now goes to the White House for presidential approval, which is expected. The new legislation is designed to prevent endangered pension plans from declining further and keep troubled plans from becoming insolvent.
The Multiemployer Pension Plan Coalition is a consortium of labor unions, employers, pension managers, plan trustees, and trade associations dedicated to reforms that help safeguard employees' retirement benefits. Food industry members of the group are D'Agostino Supermarkets, Inc.; the Food Marketing Institute; Kroger Co.; the National Grocers Association; Pathmark Stores, Inc.; Safeway; Schnuck Markets, Inc.; Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., LLC/Giant Food, LLC; Supervalu, Inc.; and the United Food & Commercial Workers' International Union.
"Like the plans this measure will protect, the passage of this legislation is in itself an example of what can be accomplished when labor, management, and government work collaboratively on matters of mutual concern," the coalition noted in a statement. "This important legislation garnered strong bipartisan support, as well as support from both labor unions and corporations. As a coalition, we applaud Congress for its ability to take action prior to the August recess and provide working Americans with an opportunity for a more secure financial future."
The new law is expected to increase the retirement security of over 9.7 million Americans participating in multiemployer pension plans, according to the coalition.