Click here for a short summary of the issue. Click here for a detailed timeline.
See also the Pension Rights Center website.
Click here for ex-St. Peter's CEO John Matuska's 2011 letter to the IRS.
Click here for ex-St. Peter's VP of HR Bruce Pardo's 2011 letter to the IRS.
Haga clic aqui para verun resumen del problema en español.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Your Pension At Risk

Saint Peter's University Hospital has applied to have the Internal Revenue Service recognize the Saint Peter's Healthcare System Retirement Plan as a "non-electing church plan." This would strip away the basic protections provided under Federal law to virtually all other private-sector pension plans. Church plans:
  • Do not have to give employees information about their benefits or about plan investments.
  • Are not required to pay benefits fairly.
  • Are not required to adequately fund the pension plan.
  • Are not covered by the federal pension insurance program that guarantees most private pension benefits.
The church plan exemption, once granted, lasts forever. In numerous cases, most notably that of the Hospital Center of Orange in 2006, employers have used the church plan exemption to escape their pension obligations and make the money available for other uses.

Saint Peter's management has been stingy with information about the move, and not entirely honest about its consequences. If you are a plan member, please review the information on this website, take action to convince the IRS to deny the church plan ruling, and get others involved. It is especially important that retirees come forward, as current employees are terrified of retaliation from Saint Peter's management, and there is no database of retirees outside of the hospital. The IRS's comment period closes January 20, 2012.

For a great introduction to the issues, see this blog post and this series of fact sheets from the Pension Rights Center. Please stay tuned for upcoming posts, which will detail the timeline of events and offer strategies for saving your pension from this imminent threat.

Please leave your comments and suggestions below by clicking the "N comments" link. You can leave comments anonymously. Thanks for getting involved -- your participation is crucial!