Professor Norman Stein offered perspectives on a pension battle between the Bethlehem, Pa. candy-maker that manufactures Peeps and its unionized workforce in the Morning Call on Sept. 12.
Four hundred workers walked off their jobs at Just Born Quality Confections amid a fight over rising fees charged by the multi-employer pension fund that provides retirement income but seeks more than $2 million from the company in surcharges, the article said.
The company hopes to cut costs by excluding new hires from the pension plan and offer them coverage instead through a 401(k) plan.
Ordinarily, Stein explained, a company seeking to withdraw from multi-employer plans must gain union approval to pay an exit fee that covers its share of benefits the fund owes to retirees and pension-eligible workers.
The pension fund has sued the candy-maker, claiming it has failed to make its share of contributions.
Stein explained that multi-employer pension plans have benefits and drawbacks.
“These plans, they have their risks to them, but if they are well-funded and operating well there are advantages for all players,” he said.