Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association

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Capitol Hill Update: Composite Plans and Pension Relief

Jul 30, 2020

United States Capital Building-501092172 600x399Call to Action: Composite Plans and Pension Relief

Dear SMACNA Members:

The leaked details of a Republican Senate/White House deal on a COVID relief bill did not include Composite Plans or pension relief for failing plans. There is bipartisan support for both, but the politics remain tricky. While Republicans may have excluded pension provisions as part of a negotiating strategy, some Republicans say pension relief is not COVID-related. Other fiscal conservative Republicans are expressing more concern about deficit spending.

There is no time to waste. The Congressional COVID relief bill needs to include composite plans. We strongly urge you to call your Senator today, either at their Capitol Hill or district offices; contact information for all Members of Congress can be found here. While there could be opportunities for enactment of pension reform after a COVID relief bill passes, it will get even harder to find consensus. Even if you have reached out to your Senator previously, make another call reiterating the importance of pension relief and reform in the COVID Relief Package and make a special ask for Composite Plans.

Further, we ask that every chapter executive take time to call their Senators and encourage all their members to do the same. Calls from employers would send a powerful message that pension plans are being hurt by the pandemic and that pension relief and reform, including Composite Plans, should be included in the upcoming COVID relief bill. 

Deliver SMACNA’s message: Below is an example of information to include and points to make when communicating with your Senator. Remember to remove the text in the brackets once you have filled in the needed information. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to SMACNA’s Policy Specialist, Dana Thompson at dthompson@smacna.org.

  • I am a construction employer from __________ [name of your city], and I contribute to multiemployer pension plans.

  • I urge you to include pension relief and reform as put forth by Senators Grassley and Alexander, including Composite Plans, in this COVID Relief bill.

  • ALL plans are being hurt by the pandemic.

    • Plan income is based on investment income and employer contributions. Employer contributions are based on work hours and work has slowed down, stopped or is dwindling.  

  • Allowing plans to fail creates economic hardship for _____________ [name of your state] retirees.

  • Composite Plans will create a voluntary alternative to stabilize benefits in the best interest of all stakeholders — employers, workers and retirees alike.

  • Thank you. I can be reached at ___________________ [your contact information].

Visit SMACNA.org to for the Latest Advocacy Updates

Additionally, here are some of the ways that you can stay in-the-know on SMACNA’s advocacy efforts:

  • Advocacy page. Find updated information on SMACNA priority legislation.

  • Letters & Testimony page. Read about recent correspondence with Capitol Hill lawmakers.

  • eAdvocacy site. Take action and connect with your Members of Congress on issues critical to your business and our industry.

For more information on Composite Plans, please review the June 10th letter to senior Congressional leaders cosigned by SMACNA regarding pension legislation as well as the Composite Plan Talking Points.

Read the July 24th letter from the Construction Employers of America regarding Financial Factors in Selecting Plan Investments Proposed Regulation.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at skolbe@smacna.org or reach out to the SMACNA Government Affairs staff at advocacy@smacna.org.

Thank you for your continued advocacy and hard work. We appreciate all you do.

Stay safe and be well,

Stanley E Kolbe 

Stanley E. Kolbe, Jr.
Director, Legislative and Political Affairs