Sheet metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association

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Free Look Permitted by NPF

Jun 25, 2015

The Sheet Metal Workers’ National Pension Fund (NPF) recently amended its trust document to permit new 2015 eligible employers to participate in the plan without incurring withdrawal liability for up to four years. The NPF explained the change in an email to local leaders as follows:

Free Look allows a newly-signatory Employer to participate in the NPF without incurring withdrawal liability should the Employer cease to be a party to a SMART Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) within 48 months of the Employer’s signatory date. Free Look can only be offered in years which, at the start of the year, the NPF’s assets are more than eight (8) times the Fund’s annual benefit payments. This means that the NPF must determine if Free Look is available each year, but it has been determined to be available for the 2015 Plan Year. 

If a Local intends to sign a brand new Employer to a CBA, the Employer and the Local should promptly complete and submit the enclosed questionnaire. Prior to submission, please confer with the Fund Office to be sure the Employer satisfies all of the conditions for Free Look. Conditions include, but are not limited to, acceptable terms in your CBA; an acceptable CBA will incorporate the NPF Trust Document, require that the Employer makes monthly contributions via the NBF’s Internet Payment System, and include representations that the Local will withdraw labor in the event of delinquency without waiting for SMART to send a directive. For your convenience, we have enclosed CBA language which meets these requirements. 

The questionnaire and sample CBA language referenced in the NPF’s email is available here. Additionally, the NPF’s amended Trust Agreement is available on the NPF website. Please contact SMACNA’s labor relations department with questions.