The following statement was released today by North America’s Building Trades Unions in reaction to a proposed increase in Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) premiums for multiemployer plans as part of President Obama’s FY 2017 budget proposal:

North America’s Building Trades Unions are united in vigorous opposition to the PBGC tax increase being imposed on working families through President Obama’s FY 2017 budget proposal.

“The PBGC premium increase, if enacted, would result in a de facto five-fold tax increase on American workers, while further endangering the continued viability of defined benefit multiemployer plans and placing hard-earned pension benefits at greater risk.

“Coupled with the 40% excise tax being pushed onto certain healthcare plans, including many Building Trades plans, it becomes difficult to escape the conclusion that this Administration is working to hasten the demise of private-sector defined-benefit pension and healthcare plans in this country.

“The continued financial solvency and long-term viability of multiemployer defined-benefit plans is a policy priority for our unions.  And the best and only effective way to achieve this goal is to provide an incentive for employers to continue to participate in the system.  We would like to think that the Obama Administration feels likewise.

“Unfortunately, a PBGC premium tax would have the exact opposite effect.

“We urge the Administration to rethink its approach to this issue and concentrate on proposals that will take positive steps to better secure retirement income security for American workers and their families, rather than instituting an ill-conceived, five-fold tax increase on the middle class — a tax that could unravel the entire private pension system and leave hard-working Americans with little to show for a secure retirement.”