The Forgotten Employee Benefit Crisis: Multiemployer Plans on the Brink

30 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2011 Last revised: 3 Nov 2011

See all articles by Paul M. Secunda

Paul M. Secunda

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: November 3, 2011


This article provides a first time look at the numerous challenges facing multiemployer or Taft-Hartley benefit plans in the post-global recession and health care reform world. These plans have provided pension, health, and welfare benefits to union members of smaller employers in itinerant industries for over sixty years and even today, these plans collectively have over ten million participants in over 1500 plans.

Multiemployer plans are increasingly mired in financial trouble and are finding it more difficult to continue to provide adequate retirement and health benefits to their members. Although they once represented one of the great triumphs in American labor relations, these plans are now becoming just another part of the growing employee benefits crisis confronting the United States.

The purpose of this article is to consider, and respond to, the various financial, healthcare, and judicial challenges that threaten the on-going viability of these plans. By addressing these challenges in a systematic manner, this article seeks to provide a more sustainable path forward so that multiemployer benefit plans can continue to provide crucial employee benefits to the next generation of union workers.

Keywords: Multiemployer Plans, Taft-Hartley Plans, Unions, PPACA, Pension Protection Act, Benefits, Employee Benefits

Suggested Citation

Secunda, Paul M., The Forgotten Employee Benefit Crisis: Multiemployer Plans on the Brink (November 3, 2011). Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 21, No. 1, pp. 77-106, 2011, Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 11-04, Available at SSRN:

Paul M. Secunda (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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