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  #841  
Old 04-21-2019, 11:35 AM
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Mary Pat Campbell
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NEW YORK
ST. CLARE'S HOSPITAL

https://www.timesunion.com/business/...n-13771513.php

Quote:
AG gets more time to study St. Clare's pension collapse

Spoiler:
SCHENECTADY — A state Supreme Court Justice on Tuesday gave the state Attorney General's Charities Bureau until April 30 to pose its questions over the St. Clare's pension collapse.

During a hearing at the Schenectady County Courthouse Donna Cole Paul, a lawyer with the AG's office, asked Justice Vincent Versaci for time to uncover "additional documents on the financial wherewithal" of the St. Clare's Corporation which oversaw the pension plan for about 1,100 former hospital workers.

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The justice set an April 30 deadline for such inquiries to be made.

Raymond McCabe, a lawyer for the corporation, said it was "willing and able to provide documents that the court may require."

Two other lawyers joined the proceedings representing pensioners. Victoria Esposito, a lawyer with the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, said she wanted "to look at the numbers that were used" during the 2008 merger of St. Clare's and Ellis Hospital when the state provided $28.5 million to support the pension plan.


"I am glad that the AG's office is paying serious attention to this," she said.

Esposito represents two pensioners, Kelvin Isolda, a former maintenance worker, and Laurie Wasniski, who worked in the hospital's medical library.

The other lawyer, David Pentkowski, represents Karen Bradley, a registered nurse.

"We don't want to point fingers yet," she said. "We want to find common ground."

Bradley, who worked 24 years at St. Clare's before transferring to Ellis Hospital, said there are many people not working who are in need of their pension. "This is not just for me, it's for them," she said.

Tuesday's hearing was held over a request by St. Clare's Corp., which includes Albany Roman Catholic Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, to legally dissolve its existence, now that it has terminated the pension plan.

McCabe said the corporation faces a $53 million shortfall to bring back full pensions to all 1,100 former workers. Currently, 434 workers who retired before November 2015 are getting 70 percent of their promised benefits, while the rest are getting nothing.

Corporation President Joe Pofit, who did not appear in court, has said the pension fund would completely run out of cash by 2024 if pensions had not been slashed or eliminated.

He has blamed the fund's crisis on the economic recession that started in 2008, but financial records on the management and performance of the fund have not been publicly available.

During the 1990s, officials at St. Clare's Hospital sought and received federal approval for a religious exemption for its pension, which up to that point was federally insured as a private plan. The hospital then got a $90,000 refund for its previous premiums, but the plan was then left uninsured from fiscal calamity.

The fund was also exempted from requirements that could have alerted former workers of financial underperformance.

Founded in Schenectady by Catholic priests and Franciscans in 1949, St. Clare's from its beginnings has been linked to the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese. Bishops also served on the hospital board of directors.

Bishop Scharfenberger has said the diocese empathizes with retirees, but does not have the money to restore the pension fund.

He said the diocese believes a state bailout would be needed to salvage the fund, but the state has been pushing for whatever it may come up with to be matched by outside source.


https://cbs6albany.com/news/local/st...pension-crisus

Quote:
Still no decision on St. Clare's Corporation

Spoiler:
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (WRGB) – There was major developments in a court room Tuesday regarding the St. Clare’s pension controversy that could rob hundreds of crucial money.

If the board members were hoping Tuesday would be the day the corporation was dissolved, they were disappointed. The state attorney general’s office said it wanted more time to gather documentation about the pensions finances and the court agreed.

The attorneys for the corporation and the board petitioned in state supreme court in Schenectady for dissolution.

But the attorney representing the attorney general asked, and was granted, more time to look into questions like how much money was in the fund and how much was needed to make the pensioners whole.

The corporation has been managing the pension fund since the state ordered St. Clare’s to merge with Ellis Hospital more than ten years ago.

Last fall, the corporation announced the fund was all but bankrupt and that 1100 workers would either have their pensions reduced or receive no pension at all.

Attorneys representing at least three of those pensioners asked the judge to let them be involved in the proceedings. Dozens more former St. Clare’s employees watched in court and said afterward the attorney general's request for more time was a good thing because for them, personally, time was running out.

“Maybe a baby step, but I think a big baby step, a very important baby step because you could see they were a little surprised. we came in with some ammunition,” said pensioner Mary Hartshoren.

The judge set a deadline of April 30 for gathering that information about the corporations handling of the fund and the resources currently available.


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Last edited by campbell; 04-21-2019 at 11:56 AM..
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  #842  
Old 04-21-2019, 12:05 PM
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Mary Pat Campbell
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DENVER POST

https://gazette.com/business/denver-...2f3c6de82.html


Quote:
Denver Post owner being investigated by feds over employee pension management, Washington Post says

Spoiler:
Alden Global Capital, the New York-based hedge fund that controls The Denver Post and more than 100 other newspapers, is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor over its management of employee pensions, according to a Washington Post report.

Alden — whose papers also include the Boston Herald, Orange County Register of Irvine, Calif., and Mercury News of San Jose, Calif., all of which are operated through the hedge fund’s MediaNews Group — moved nearly $250 million of employee pensions into its own accounts in recent years, “an unusual move that is triggering federal scrutiny,” a Washington Post story said this week.

In some cases, Alden moved 90 percent of retirees’ pensions into two funds it controlled, the Post reported, citing Labor Department public records. Most of the money, however, now has been moved out of the funds, the Post story added.

“Federal law generally requires that pension managers avoid conflicts of interest and avoid taking excessive risks with the assets they manage, experts said, though some exemptions are allowed,” according to the Washington Post.

The newspaper’s story said an Alden spokesman confirmed the hedge fund is being investigated by the Labor Department for management of its pensions.

“The specific nature of the investigation is unclear, but one person familiar with the agency’s inquiry, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is confidential, said the department issued subpoenas to Alden and its partners last year,” the Post story said.

The Labor Department’s investigation could become a factor in Alden’s attempt to acquire McLean, Va.,-based Gannett, the nation’s largest daily newspaper chain whose holdings include USA Today, The Coloradoan of Fort Collins and many others, according to the story.

New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, the Senate’s minority leader, has raised questions about Alden’s decisions regarding the management of its pensions, the Post said.

Alden and the Labor Department declined to comment to the Post for its story. A spokesman for MediaNews Group told the newspaper that Alden’s management of pension assets “complied with all legal requirements.”

Alden has gained a reputation for slash-and-burn tactics in its acquisition of newspapers — laying off employees, selling newspaper buildings and other assets in a money grab and showing little regard for the communities the papers serve.

In April of last year, a Denver Post editorial attacked its hedge fund owner as “vulture capitalists” and urged Alden to sell the newspaper — a move that made national headlines and put a spotlight on Alden.

The editorial came after a round of layoffs that reduced the Denver Post’s newsroom staff by one-third to about 60 people.


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  #843  
Old 04-21-2019, 12:06 PM
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STOP&SHOP

https://www.newtownbee.com/stop-shop...issue/04182019
Quote:
Stop & Shop Strike Continues As Pay, Pensions Remain At Issue

Spoiler:
More than 30 years after a strike in 1988, “and it lasted less than a day,” said Stop & Shop External Communications Manager Stefanie Shuman, work contract negotiations continued Wednesday, April 17, after nearly one week with union workers on strike at Stop & Shop grocery stores throughout New England and locally in Newtown.

Updates posted regularly at stopandshop.com include one from April 16: “The UFCW locals and Stop & Shop continued negotiations today. Our goal remains the same – reaching a fair new agreement and returning our focus to doing what we do best — taking care of our customers..."

Ms Shuman responded to Newtown Bee inquiries Wednesday morning, April 17, saying that “Bargaining continues today, and we’ve also published a new fact sheet that outlines the key aspects of our proposals on pension.”

Regarding the grocery delivery service, Peapod, she said, “Peapod is experiencing some service disruptions due to a result of current negotiations between UFCW unions and Stop & Shop. Delivery and pick-up times may be limited. Peapod hopes to be back to full service availability as quickly as possible.”

The company has taken measures to staff its stores.

On Monday, April 15, UFCW Local 919 and UFCW Local 371 AFL-CIO union members and Stop & Shop employees started their week with hopes that they would see resolutions by the weekend.

Picketers Monday mentioned “sticking points,” with the contracts include health benefits; what the new hires are, or are not, being offered; and Sunday pay is still an issue, store worker Michael Theise said.

A People’s United Bank within the store and the pharmacy are among reasons residents continue to shop at the 228 South Main Street location.

Terms of Pension

Ms Shuman provided the following facts about Stop & Shop’s pension proposal:

*Keeping the defined benefit pension for all associates, 100 percent funded by the company;

*Just four percent of privately employed Americans have only a defined benefit pension for retirement. (Source CNN Money’s “Ultimate Guide to Retirement”);

*No cuts to pension benefits associates already have earned;

*20 percent increase in the company’s contributions to the pension fund to keep benefits growing under the funds’ rules at the same rate for current full- and vested part-time associates;

*Increased pension fund contributions are at no cost to associates;

*Nearly all other companies, if anything, only provide access to a 401(k) plan funded by employees, possibly with an employer match; and

*Associate pension benefits are managed by the UFCW pension funds, whose trustees include representatives of the union and employers in the plan.


https://www.courant.com/breaking-new...tga-story.html
Quote:
Stop & Shop strike, contract negotiations to continue into holiday weekend

Spoiler:
Negotiations to end the Stop & Shop strike will stretch into at least Saturday after company and union officials were unable to come to an agreement to end the strike that is now in its second week.

The continued impasse means Stop & Shop locations across Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts will remain short staffed or closed outright during the Easter and Passover holiday weekend.

Company and union officials expected negotiations to continue through Saturday and Sunday, if necessary, despite the holidays, they said late Friday night.

“We’ll negotiate as long as we have to for the deal our members deserve,” a United Food and Commercial Workers union spokesperson said late Friday.

Company officials said the negotiations continued into Friday night.

“We remain focused on reaching fair new agreements that provide market-leading wages, excellent health benefits for eligible associates and increased pension contributions for all of our associates,” Stop & Shop Communications Director Jennifer Brogan said.

The strike began on April 11 when 31,000 Stop & Shop workers represented by five unions walked off the job after months of failed negotiations with the company.

At the heart of the gridlock are disputes over Sunday pay, pension changes, increases in the cost of health insurance and a proposal to exclude spouses of employees from Stop & Shop plans.

Union leaders have said the company’s proposal would “drastically increase” employees’ health care costs, but Stop & Shop officials have argued the company is offering pay increases for all employees under its contract proposal.

The company was forced to curtail hours or close 241 stores in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts as customers turned to other supermarkets and Stop & Shop employees walked picket lines.

As the negotiations dragged on this week, the company and union traded barbs in written statements, each making accusations and denials in turn.

The strikes have drawn national attention, including from Democratic presidential hopefuls who visited with striking employees this week. Former Vice President Joe Biden visited workers at one Massachusetts store on Thursday afternoon and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, visited another store Friday afternoon.


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  #844  
Old Today, 06:18 AM
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https://www.soa.org/resources/resear...ution-indices/

most recent update: April 2019
Quote:
The SOA is pleased to make available a longitudinal study of single employer pension plan contributions in the U.S. The analysis measures whether pension plan contributions paid down unfunded liabilities or met other benchmarks, such as regulatory requirements.

Highlights from the most recent update:

In 2016, 27% of plan liabilities were in plans that had an unfunded liability when computed with the smoothed discount rates allowed under federal law. 1 This percentage is up from 11% in 2015.
Of the 27% of plan liabilities associated with plans that had an unfunded liability in 2016, 16% is attributable to plans that contributed enough to reduce their unfunded liabilities, while 11% fell short.
Only 21% of plan liabilities were associated with plans that had a 2016 Minimum Required Contribution (MRC) under federal law. Of the 21%, more than 20% was attributable to plans that contributed at least as much as the MRC, and less than 1% was associated with plans that contributed less than the MRC. Even though a plan may have an unfunded liability, it may have no MRC because of carryover and prefunding balances—mechanisms for recognizing that past contributions were greater than required.
Using unsmoothed discount rates, 78% of liabilities in 2016 were associated with plans with an unfunded liability. 2 Of the 78%, 32% was associated with plans whose contributions reduced their unfunded liabilities, while 46% was attributable to plans that fell short of preventing their unfunded liability from growing.
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