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The World of Multiemployer Benefit Funds Podcast
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The World of Multiemployer Benefit Funds Podcast

Author: Traci Dority-Shanklin

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Perhaps you've heard about pension reform on the news? Multiemployer benefit funds provide retirement, paid sick leave, vacation, and other paid benefits to millions of middle and working-class Americans and retirees, but these funds are complex. Join Traci Dority-Shanklin, the client and union advocate with over 20 years of managing Taft-Hartley funds, as she navigates the complex world of Taft-Hartley and speaks with the experts who help guide these plans. Guests will share the latest developments, their personal stories, and their perspectives as they help unlock the mysteries of these funds.
53 Episodes
Most Americans are under-prepared for retirement. Many studies point to a potential retirement crisis. The most sophisticated models imply that anywhere from 25 to 50% of US households, preparing for retirement will end up short of the savings needed. According to the National Library of Medicine, 40% of personal bankruptcies are because of excessive bills. Financial well-being is more than just about our ability to pay our bills or retire with dignity. Financial well-being impacts every area of our lives and is critical to our overall quality of life. Financial well-being is so vital that multiemployer benefit funds actively seek ways to communicate the available tools and resources and educate plan participants. Traci welcomes Jennifer Schuster and Josh Meyers from Segal Benz Communications, a firm that specializes in consolidating and directing multiemployer plan participants on available financial planning tools.Support the
White-collar organizing sweeps the Tech and Game Industry! Learn how the Communication Workers of America (CWA) is converting non-traditional industries like college campuses, newspapers, and the Tech and Game Industry into union shops. CWA District 3 organizing coordinator and grassroots activist, Cassie Watters, gives us the skinny on what motivates these white-collar workers to organize and how the CWA supports these digital employees. Some highlights from CWA Organizing: White-Collar Power: 04:10 – Campus Workers Fight Back10:14 – WILL)Empower13:03 – The Importance of Mentors and Mentorships16:23 – CODE: Coalition to Organize Digital Employeeshttps://www.willempower.orgSupport the
White-collar workers are organizing labor unions at Tech & Game, nonprofits, college campuses, and now comic book workers. CWA District 3 organizing coordinator and grassroots activist, Cassie Watters, explains why these workers are turning to the Communications Workers of America to help them organize and how the CWA is supporting them.Some highlights from CWA Organizing: Tech and Game Workers: 04:10 – Campus Workers Strike Back10:32 – CWA and Jobs with Justice13:03 – The Importance of Mentorship16:23 – CODE: Coalition to Organize Digital EmployeesSupport the
Low pay, no opportunity for advancement, and feeling disrespected topped the list of reasons why millions of workers quit their jobs in 2021. With union organizing in Big Tech, Starbucks, and Amazon and labor unions enjoying high popularity with workers across the country, could this be the beginning of a new labor movement? Arelia Valdivia and Francisco Diez from the Center for Popular Democracy are here to share some insight into the Great Resignation and what is driving worker unrest.Some highlights from Has Worker Unrest Sparked a New Labor Movement:01:29 – A Shortage of Good Jobs06:23 – It’s More than Just Pay!10:20 – The New American Majority15:25 – The FIX UI Campaign The CPD’s FIX UI CampaignSupport the
Lockdowns and the coronavirus pandemic laid bare our inept and patchwork unemployment system. Iceland supported its citizens with 30 months of unemployment benefits while US workers barely received six months of benefits. Arelia Valdivia and Francisco Diez are here from the Center for Popular Democracy to explain why our current UI system desperately needs reform and how all workers, both employed and unemployed, can help fix it.Some highlights from The CPD’s Case for Unemployment Insurance Reform:01:21 – Meet the Center for Popular Democracy08:37 – The Sad State of UI Benefits for US Workers12:49 – An Employer’s Perspective on UI15:25 – The FIX UI CampaignThe CPD’s FIX UI CampaignSupport the
Traditional defined benefit plans provide retirees with a guaranteed lifetime pension. However, workers participating in these DB plans have fallen from 38% to 20% between 1980 and 2008. Steve McCourt, the co-CEO and Managing Principal at Meketa Investment Group, shares some insight into the Great Resignation and the shifting demographics in the workforce.Some highlights from Defined Benefit Plans and the Case of the Disappearing Demographics:02:29 – The Fuzzy Math Problem06:42 – Could We See a Rolling Series of ARPAs?10:17 – Not a Blunt Hammer16:34 – Is Blockchain Technology on the Horizon for Defined Benefit Plans?If you'd like to read or view the Meketa white paper, Cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Blockchain, and Institutional Investors click HERESupport the
Two years ago, Steve McCourt, the Managing Partner and co-CEO of Meketa Investment Group shared his thoughts on the pandemic’s impact on pension funds. However, it was too early in the pandemic, so there were too many unknowns. Steve returns with an update on how the market, trustees, pension funds, and technology have all responded to the disruption.Some highlights from The Pandemic’s Impact on Pension Funds Revisited:01:36 – In Our Previous Conversation…03:38 – The Bull Market Charges Ahead07:46 – The Pandemic’s Impact on the Trades13:06 – It’s a Brave New Virtual Worldwww.meketa.comSupport the
UNICEF reported that 1 in 7 children have been negatively impacted by the pandemic lockdowns. And more than 1.6 billion children have suffered from some loss of education. The co-founders of Virtual Milestones Academy, Megan Cawlfield, a pediatric speech-language pathologist, and Emily Roberts, an occupational therapist, expose the cracks in our disjointed healthcare system and support parents with finding holistic, family-centered solutions. Some highlights from Lockdowns, Social Isolation and Children’s Mental Health:04:35 – Navigating Mental Health with Virtual Milestones Academy10:19 – Early Intervention14:27 – 1 out of 6 Children15:44 – Find the Positive in the Pandemic19:32 – Falling Down the Rabbit HolesSupport the
Host, Traci Dority-Shanklin, recaps her 2021 discussions about pension reform and hybrid retirement solutions for failing multiemployer plans. With the help of several guests from previous podcasts, Traci highlights potential solutions and recounts events that drove these plans to the breaking point. Past guests include AFL-CIO president, Liz Shuler; UFCW Local 21 president, Faye Guenther; Executive Director of NIRS, Dan Doonan; Executive Director of NCCMP, Michael Scott; labor organizer and co-founder of Unionbase, Larry Williams Jr; and consulting actuary from Cheiron and co-author of The Hybrid Handbook, Elizabeth Wiley.Some highlights from the 2021 Hybrid Retirement Recap Show:03:35 – A Generational Cynicism about Retirement Plans09:59 – Drawbacks of a Defined Contribution Plan13:04 – Building the Right Hybrid Plan16:08 – The Hybrid Plan Case Studies22:59 – Future Retirement Security for All AmericansSupport the
Imagine taking office as president of the nation’s largest UFCW local at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Suddenly, healthcare and grocery store workers are declared essential frontline workers, but essential workers should have enough money to buy food, have a roof over their heads, and lead lives that are essential. UFCW Local 21 president, Faye Guenther, talks about how coronavirus upended the playing field and contract negotiations but ushered in beautiful acts of solidarity from their extended union family beyond the UFCW.Some highlights from UFCW Local 21 and the Coronavirus Pandemic include:03:07 – The First COVID Case08:37 – Talking to 100,000 Members11:20 – COVID Safety Protocols and Essential Workers14:26 – Growing up in Rural Oregon17:32 – 100 People LeadingSupport the
The UFCW Local 21 set an ambitious goal of identifying, recruiting, and training 4500 of the next generation of labor leaders over the next two years. How is that effort going? Luckily, Faye Guenther, the president of UFCW Local 21, is here to give an update and share how laughter helped bring her diverse team together.Some highlights from the 4500: Identifying and Recruiting the Next Generation of Labor Leaders include:01:17 – Rethinking the Idea of Team06:17 – Diversity and Inclusion at the UFCW Local 2108:24 – Listening and Talking with Members11:07 – Identifying, Recruiting & Training 4500 Leaders14:05 – The Initiatives: From Social Justice to Legal Cannabis16:55 – Retirement and UnionismSupport the
If your union or employer’s defined benefit plan was in critical and declining condition and facing insolvency, would you consider a hybrid retirement solution to fix it? That’s exactly how the UFCW Local 21 turned their red-zone plan back to green. UFCW Local 21 president, Faye Guenther, shares the bold steps taken by her UFCW family when they switched from their legacy plan to a variable annuity pension plan (VAPP).Some highlights from UFCW Local 21 and the Saga of the Variable Annuity Plan include:04:17 – A Red-zone Plan in a Death Spiral08:14 – The First Big Challenge 10:36 – Kroger and the VAPP16:44 – The Employer Reactions19:48 – The Variable Annuity Plan and the Path ForwardSupport the
A hybrid retirement plan combines parts of a defined benefit plan with parts of a defined contribution plan. Dan Doonan, the Executive Director of the National Institute on Retirement Security, and Elizabeth Wiley, a consulting actuary at Cheiron, wrote the book on hybrid plans – literally! Dan and Elizabeth penned The Hybrid Handbook, a white paper on hybrid retirement plans in the public sector. Listen as they share their insights on these plans along with some of their favorite case studies. Some highlights from Not All Hybrid Plans Are Created Equal include:01:27 – Hybrid Retirement Plans: The Case Studies06:30 – The Best Time to Plant a Tree…10:56 – Unfunded Liabilities and a Cause for Concern14:35 – Risk Sharing vs Risk Shifting19:03 – The Efficiency of Pensions vs Defined Contribution24:30 – Thoughts on Pension ReformClick on The Hybrid Handbook if you'd like to read or download a PDF of Dan and Elizabeth's white paper.Support the
Hybrid retirement plans are becoming a viable option to the traditional defined benefit and defined contribution plans, but what are they? And who are they right for? Dan Doonan, the Executive Director of the National Institute on Retirement Security, and Elizabeth Wiley, a Cheiron consulting actuary, co-authored The Hybrid Handbook, where they outline various public hybrid retirement plan structures. Dan and Elizabeth demystify these plans and explain why some struggling multiemployer plans should consider a hybrid option.Some highlights from Hybrid Retirement Plans 101 include:03:37 – The Hybrid Handbook05:55 – The Spectrum: Defined Benefit & Defined Contribution10:16 – Types of Hybrid Plan Structures17:27 – Is Risk Sharing a Negative?22:30 – Communication is KeyClick on if you'd like to download or read a PDF copy of Dan and Elizabeth's "Hybrid Handbook" Support the
Uniontrack’s Engage app combines union dues payment software, union membership communication software, and grievance tracking software into a web-based system. Uniontrack created the union-friendly app, and their CEO, Ken Green, explains how the Engage app solves workflow issues for unions and empowers the next generation of union members through technology.Some highlights from Uniontrack’s Engage: The Union-Friendly App include:03:35 – Solving Union Workflow Issues09:17 – Unifying Union Operations13:54 – Leverage Technology for Organizing19:06 – Connecting & Communicating with Engage21:07 – Dispelling Myths About Labor25:32 – Building a Movement with Technologyhttps://www.uniontrack.comSupport the
The union brotherhood and sisterhood are committed to more than its own membership. When 9/11 happened, the Teamsters mobilized truckloads of cell phones and radios to rescue workers. Elizabeth Murray-Belcaster, the CEO of EMB Consultants who consults on training to placement programs with the Department of Defense and trade unions, rejoins the podcast. Elizabeth shares how the brotherhood and the sisterhood have impacted diversity, three presidential administrations, and the Department of Defense’s SkillBridge program.Some highlights from Union Matters: The Brotherhood & the Sisterhood include:02:01 – Will the Welder06:38 – Industry Stakeholders and Millennials11:07 – Obama, Trump, and Biden…14:26 – The Only Woman in the Room19:50 – Union Proud: The Teamsters!Support the
Labor unions provide workers with better wages and safer workplaces, but did you also know that they train transitioning military veterans in career pathways for civilian life? Our next guest develops and implements veteran training to placement programs with the Department of Defense and labor unions. The CEO of EMB Consultants, Elizabeth Murray-Belcaster, shares her experiences with the DOD’s SkillBridge program and why more organized labor should invest in these programs.Some highlights from Union Matters: Veterans Training Programs include:01:48 – Getting Endorsements06:26 – Transition is a Culture!11:45 – Nothing Happens in a Vacuum14:57 – Why Aren’t We Doing These Programs Everywhere?18:44 – Case Studies: the Teamsters and Utility Workers of America25:45 – The DOD’s SkillBridge ProgramSupport the
You may know that union workers make more money than non-union workers, but did you know that 92% of union workers have a guaranteed pension compared to only 68% of non-union workers? Liz Shuler, the secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, joins Traci on the podcast to discuss the future of defined benefit plans, the union brand, and busting her favorite myths about organized labor.Some highlights from The Value of Union Membership with Liz Shuler include:01:46 – Understanding the Value of Union Membership06:29 – The Future of Defined Benefit Plans09:30 – The Pension Model Evolves13:38 – Union Myth-Busting16:55 – The Digital Revolution and Union Innovation22:06 – Racial Justice and a Blueprint for Changehttps://aflcio.orgSupport the
Did you know that the labor movement is the largest organization of working women in the nation? On December 11, 1961, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr told the AFL-CIO, “The two most dynamic and cohesive liberal forces in the country are the labor movement and the Negro Freedom movement. Together, we can be architects of democracy.” Liz Shuler, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO, joins Traci on the podcast to talk about how the labor movement and the AFL-CIO are supporting women, minorities, and the next generation of workers.Some highlights from Meet the AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer, Liz Shuler include:03:01 – Liz’s Journey to the AFL-CIO07:55 – “Women of Steel”12:03 – Union Favorability and Goodwill towards Labor Unions15:40 – Let’s Pass the PRO-Act!18:02 – Biden’s Interagency Task Force21:09 – Next Step and the Young Workerhttps://aflcio.orgSupport the
Companies like Amazon, Uber, Doordash, and Lyft have big advantages against organized labor. Larry Williams Jr, the founder of Unionbase and a former co-founder of the Progressive Workers Union, returns to the podcast. He explains what elements are needed to run a successful union election campaign and the need for gig workers to have a voice at the bargaining table.Some highlights from Amazon and the Future of the Gig Economy with Larry Williams Jr include:01:53 – Assessing the Amazon Union Vote07:17 – Millennials and the Pension Issue11:45 – Are the Concerns of Millennials Being Addressed?16:30 – President Biden and the PRO-Act23:56 – The Unseen Plight of the Gig Workerhttps://unionbase.orgSupport the
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