Guild members must vote on pension merger

If the Guild pension plan is to be merged with the Company’s plan as proposed, it is an action that can only be taken by one group: the membership.

Section 14.C. of the contract, on page 32, states: “The Fund will be maintained in accordance with applicable law as a jointly administered trust fund…” This language remains in effect, and the Company made no proposal to alter it in our negotiations.

The only way that a merger can be approved is if it is negotiated with the union and a change to that language is ratified by the membership. You get to decide.

That was the legal advice provided by our counsel, Barbara Camens, after the meeting Wednesday. We are still awaiting a written proposal from the Company.

Ms. Camens made clear that the pension trustees would be in violation of the contract and the law if they voted to move the plan without a vote of the membership. Unfortunately, some of our trustees were poised to do just that. As a result, we made the heart-renching decision to remove two of them.

One of the two was told repeatedly that a vote of the membership should be done, and this person instead insisted this was an action that could be unilaterally taken by the trustees. That is not true and goes against the advice of our counsel, our contract language and the best interests of our membership.

Some have expressed the belief that this step was taken in order to prevent the merger from happening. This is not true. We are still awaiting the Company’s written proposal, we will review it with our attorneys and we will respond appropriately.

In the end, neither the Executive Board nor the trustees will make this decision. Only the membership has the authority to do it. It’s in your hands.

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