AFTRA Pension Fund Takes Hit; Adjustments Made
March 23, 2009 at 8:58 AM (PT)
The AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TELEVISION AND RADIO ARTISTS said SATURDAY that the value of its pension fund fell 23% last year to $1.54 billion as a result the stock market slide, reports THE LOS ANGELES TIMES. The losses have forced the union to make adjustments to its retirement plan.
In a decision that is likely to be deeply unpopular among the 77,000 members, trustees of AFTRA's health and retirement fund voted to change the way pension benefits are calculated and increase the minimum annual earnings threshold needed to earn a pension credit to $15,000 from $7,500.
The upshot is that fewer members will qualify for the unions' pension plan because they won't meet the earnings threshold. AFTRA officials wouldn't say how many members would be affected, but said the change was necessary to secure the soundness of its retirement plan in a tough economic environment.
"The higher earnings threshold is a painful but overdue step that the Trustees believe will also help our retirement plan to weather what most experts agree will be a difficult economic environment for the next few years," AFTRA Pres. ROBERTA REARDON said in a statement. "The AFTRA plan has followed a smart, stable and diversified strategy. But like every other pension plan in the country ... our plan has felt the impact of the current economic turmoil."