SMACNA's two-day intensive Trustee Training Seminar for sheet metal industry trustees will be held November 6 & 7, 2023, in Rosemont, Illinois. This seminar is appropriate for trustees at any experience level but highly recommended for new ones as it will cover a wide array of topics that will allow them to do their duties more effectively. Chapter Executives are encouraged to attend as well.
The Trustee Training Seminar is meant to cover the essential fiduciary obligations that every trustee must operate within and the major knowledge areas that a trustee overseeing the running of a benefit fund should know. This seminar will cover financial, regulatory, legal, and practical advice for trustees, taught by industry experts from service providers within the multi-employer benefit world.
The U.S. Department of Labor and the federal courts have held that a sponsoring entity (i.e., your chapter) has a limited but critical fiduciary obligation to ensure that the trustees they appoint are carrying out their responsibilities to trust funds.
In International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 90 vs. National Electrical Contractors Association, the court found a multi-employer organization liable for breach of fiduciary duty where trustees frequently failed to attend meetings and cast votes; the one trustee who did attend and vote was ineligible to do so, and the appointing organization failed to conduct any assessment of trustee performance.
Put differently, an appointing party does not have the unlimited fiduciary duty to monitor, supervise and evaluate the trustees' decisions, nor does that party have liability for the decisions made by the trustees. Instead, an appointing party has a limited fiduciary duty to ensure that trustees are appointed and removed under the plan's terms and carry out their fiduciary functions. Were it otherwise, the appointing employer or employee organization would violate the LMRA's prohibition against supervising or directing trustees' decisions.
According to the DOL, this obligation means that at reasonable intervals, the performance of trustees and other fiduciaries should be reviewed by the appointing fiduciary in such manner as may be reasonably expected to ensure that their performance has been in compliance with the terms of the plan and statutory standards and satisfies the needs of the plan. SMACNA, therefore, recommends that chapters conduct annual surveys of their trustees to ensure they attend meetings regularly, seek out trustee-specific education, and continue to monitor and actively engage in fund oversight and control.
The DOL has found that most trustees fail in their obligations to the funds, not because of ill intent but because they need better education on their role and the basics of fund management. Chapters can help combat this by requiring trustee education to serve on a fund.
To register for this event, click here.