Guild pension trustees reached a conceptual agreement Wednesday with the Company to merge the union pension plan with a company one.
The decision was not an easy one to make. With the fund likely to face shortfalls of $1 million or more a year starting in 2011, the trustees had a choice between facing making cuts to the benefits or hoping that the move to the more solidly financed company plan would help retain benefits into the future.
The decision won’t be final into an agreement is reached on the exact language. The Guild has scheduled an informational meeting at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, at the Colonie Town Library to discuss the decision with members.
The Company was willing to guarantee pension benefits only for the next two years, through Dec. 31, 2011.
“This was a difficult decision for the trustees to reach. We did it after much debate and consultation with Guild Local President Tim O’Brien and International officers and staff,” trustee Ken Crowe said. “Our goal has always been to preserve our pension benefits going forward.”
Under federal law, pension benefits earned to date, and under the agreement over the next two years, are protected and cannot be reduced.
“I want to thank the trustees for all their efforts,” Guild President Tim O’Brien said. “It is not easy to have to decide what to do to best secure your colleagues’ pensions for as long as you can.”
Besides Crowe, the other trustees are Mark Corelli, Christine Wright and John Runfola. They were joined Wednesday by O’Brien, Chief Steward Ray Pitlyk and Melissa Nelson, collective bargaining director for the Guild International and a past Albany president and pension trustee.