This Plan was established as a result of Collective Bargaining Agreements and its purpose is to improve the security and well-being of the employees and their beneficiaries. The Trustees, the Company, and the Union want you as a participant in the Plan to enjoy its benefits. This booklet describes the Plan and tells you and your beneficiary how to get more information. The description of the claims appeal procedure tells you how to apply for benefits and how to follow up, if necessary.
As a participant in the Plan, you are entitled to certain rights and protections under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). ERISA provides that all Plan participants shall be entitled to:
Examine, without charge, at the Plan Administrator’s office and other specified locations, such as worksites and union halls, all documents governing the Plan, including collective bargaining agreements and copies of the latest annual report (Form 5500 Series) filed by the Plan with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and available at the Public Disclosure Room of the Employee Benefits Security Administration. You may also access the Form 5500 starting in 2009 at the DOL website at http://www.efast.dol.gov.
Obtain, upon written request to the Plan Administrator, documents governing the operation of the Plan, including collective bargaining agreements and copies of the latest annual reports (Form 5500 Series) and updated summary plan descriptions. The Plan Administrator may make a reasonable charge for the copies.
Receive a Plan funding notice. The Plan Administrator is required by law to furnish each participant with a copy of the plan funding notice annually, which describes the plan’s funding status and the value of plan assets.
Obtain a statement telling you whether you have a right to receive a pension at normal retirement age (age 65) and, if so, what your benefits would be at normal retirement age if you stop working under the Plan now. If you do not have a right to a pension, the statement will tell you how many more years you have to work under the Plan to get a right to a pension. This statement must be requested in writing and is not required to be given more than once every twelve (12) months. The Plan must provide the statement free of charge.
In addition to creating rights for Plan participants, ERISA imposes duties upon the people who are responsible for the operation of the employee benefit plan. The people who operate your Plan, called “fiduciaries” of the Plan, have a duty to do so prudently and in the interest of you and other Plan participants and beneficiaries. No one, including your employer, your union or any other person, may fire you or otherwise discriminate against you in any way to prevent you from receiving your pension benefits or exercising your rights under ERISA.
If your claim for a pension benefit is denied or ignored, in whole or in part, you have a right to know why this was done, to obtain copies of documents relating to the decision without charge, and to appeal any denial, all within certain time schedules.
Under ERISA, there are steps you can take to enforce the above rights. For instance, if you request copies of Plan documents or the latest annual report from the Plan and do not receive them within 30 days, you may file suit in a Federal court. In such a case, the court may require the Plan Administrator to provide the materials and pay you up to $110 a day until you receive the materials, unless the materials were not sent because of reasons beyond the control of the Plan Administrator. If you have a claim for benefits which is denied or ignored in whole or in part, you may file suit in a state or federal court. In addition, if you disagree with the Plan’s decision or lack thereof concerning the qualified status of a domestic relations order, you may file suit in federal court. If it should happen that Plan fiduciaries misuse the Plan’s money, or if you are discriminated against for asserting your rights, you may seek assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor, or you may file suit in a Federal court. The court will decide who should pay court costs and legal fees. If you are successful, the court may order the person you have sued to pay these costs and fees. If you lose, the court may order you to pay these costs and fees; for example, if it finds your claim is frivolous. You must exhaust all administrative remedies prior to commencing a cause of action in state or federal court.
If you have any questions about your Plan, you should contact the Plan Administrator. If you have any questions about this statement or about your rights under ERISA, or if you need assistance obtaining documents from the Plan Administrator, you should contact the nearest office of the Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, listed in your telephone directory or the Division of Technical Assistance and Inquiries, Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20210. You may also obtain certain publications about your rights and responsibilities under ERISA by calling the publications hotline of the Employee Benefit Security Administration.