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1) Travelling union members entitled to reciprocity pension contributions
The Case: A traveling union employee brought a suit against IBEW Pacific Coast Pension Fund (the “local plan”) trustees, who had adopted an amendment to allow the local plan to withhold a portion of all reciprocity contributions made on behalf of traveling union employees. The court found that a multiemployer union pension plan in critical funding status may not withhold a part of reciprocity contributions due to travelers’ “home funds” in order to fund its own rehabilitation plan, and ordered trustees to transfer all wrongfully withheld reciprocity pension contributions to the employee’s home fund and clarified his future right to such contributions.

Key Lessons: Traveling employees who are signatories to a reciprocity agreement may receive increased pension benefits in their home funds if they perform work in the jurisdiction of a local plan that wrongfully withholds all or a portion of the reciprocity contributions made on behalf of traveling employees. Employers of such traveling union employees may want to make them aware of this right, advise Christine C. Hawkins, an associate in the Bellevue office and Richard J. Birmingham, a partner in the firm’s Seattle office. (Image credit: Fotolia)