No evidence that plan was maintained pursuant to collective bargaining agreement for purposes of making multiemployer plan election, EBSA opines

Agreements by unions to make contributions to a plan did not constitute a collective bargaining agreement for purposes of making an election that the plan be treated as a multiemployer plan, according to an Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) advisory opinion.

ERISA §3(37)(G) allows an eligible plan maintained pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement to elect to be a multiemployer plan. To allow a plan to be so treated, EBSA ruled, requires evidence of actual collective bargaining between one or more employers and an organization that represents covered employees with respect to grievances, disputes, or other matters involving the terms and conditions of employment other than coverage under, or contributions to, the plan. In this case, the information submitted indicated only the existence of agreements by the participating local unions (in their capacity as employers) to make contributions to the plan. These documents do not establish an agreement between the local unions, as employers, and the chosen representative of the employees, for purposes of negotiating with respect to the plans or any other terms or conditions of employment.

Thus, EBSA was unable to conclude that the plan should be treated as maintained pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement for purposes of ERISA §3(37)(G) because there was no evidence that the plan was established or maintained pursuant to an agreement resulting from a bona fide collective bargaining agreement.

Source: EBSA Advisory Opinion No. 2013-02A.

For more information on this and related topics, consult the CCH Pension Plan Guide, CCH Employee Benefits Management, and Spencer’s Benefits Reports.

Visit our News Library to read more news stories.