Frequently Asked Questions About the NCCMP
WHAT IS THE NCCMP?
The National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans (NCCMP) is a non-partisan, non-profit membership organization founded in 1974 by a dedicated group of plan sponsors and multiemployer benefits plan professionals who were concerned about the lack of understanding of multiemployer plans by lawmakers as demonstrated during the enactment of ERISA. It is dedicated exclusively to the advocacy and protection of multiemployer plans, plan sponsors, their participants and their families. The NCCMP has achieved an unparalleled track record of results and is widely respected and recognized as the voice of multiemployer plans.
WHAT IS THE NCCMP’S MISSION?
Over the past four decades, the NCCMP’S mission has remained constant: to assure an environment in which multiemployer plans can continue in their vital role to provide benefits to working Americans with a minimum of regulatory or other interference.
HOW DOES THE NCCMP CARRY OUT ITS MISSION?
The NCCMP monitors, on a non-partisan basis, legislative, regulatory and legal developments from conception to implementation to enforcement. When a more proactive approach is required, such as when defined benefit pension plans were threatened by inflexible funding rules, the NCCMP actively engages the system to respond to developing needs. In every instance, the NCCMP strives to effectively represent the interests of multiemployer plans, sponsors and participants at every step of the way.
HOW DO THE NCCMP’S ACTIVITIES AFFECT MY PLAN?
Any time changes to laws or regulations affecting multiemployer plans are proposed or enacted your plans are directly impacted. Rather than waiting until changes are formalized, the NCCMP is actively engaged in the process, whether by bringing the need for change to policy makers, or by being the “go-to” organization for Congress and the regulatory community. By communicating with government officials, members of Congress and staff about the unique characteristics of multiemployer plans, the NCCMP has saved multiemployer plans hundreds of millions of dollars in regulatory and administrative costs. These savings enable your plan to remain financially secure and healthy, while providing enhanced benefits to plan participants. Moreover, by actively engaging the system, the NCCMP has successfully educated and persuaded legislators and rule makers to take the needs of multiemployer plans into consideration in framing the regulatory system under which our plans must operate.
WHAT IS THE NCCMP’S ROLE IN THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS?
The NCCMP maintains a strong presence on Capitol Hill. We have developed long-standing relationships with members of Congress, their staffs and the committees of jurisdiction over employee benefit plans. The NCCMP regularly testifies at congressional hearings, prepares written comments on legislative proposals, advises committee staff, supports positive legislation, proposes or seeks change to legislation that could adversely affect our member plans and actively opposes legislative proposals that would clearly harm our plans or participants. The NCCMP has also undertaken activities to initiate needed legislation when such actions were determined to be in the best interests of the plans, their participants and sponsoring organizations. NCCMP influences virtually every piece of employee benefit legislation for the benefit of multiemployer plans and their participants.
The most notable legislative successes in the past decade include NCCMP’s role as the major facilitator and coordinator of the activities of the Multiemployer Pension Plan Coalition, which brought together over 50 diverse organizations including labor unions, employer associations, large employers, plans, trade and advocacy organizations that enabled all stakeholders’ interests to be reflected in one, unified compromise legislative proposal. The Coalition’s proposal for relief from plan funding difficulties formed the basis for, and was largely incorporated into, the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA).
Similarly, when necessary technical corrections to the PPA were identified after its enactment the NCCMP was at the forefront of other legislative victories for our plans in the Worker, Retiree and Employer Relief Act of 2008 (WRERA) in response to the initial signs of the impact the world-wide financial crisis of 2008; and the Preserving Access to Care for Medicare Beneficiaries and Pension Relief Act of 2010.
Following on the successful legislative model utilized in the Pension Protection Act, the NCCMP convened representatives from more than 40 organizations comprising a broad cross-section of the stakeholders within the multiemployer community known as the “Retirement Security Review Commission.” In early 2013, the Commission concluded an eighteen month-long process that produced a comprehensive set of reform recommendations aimed at preserving long-term retirement security for workers while reducing or eliminating unacceptable financial risks for contributing employers.
The NCCMP’s legislative activities are not limited to pension issues. During the health care legislative process NCCMP representatives were actively engaged throughout the legislative process to raise concerns regarding the way multiemployer plans were to be addressed with the advent of comprehensive reform. Unfortunately, enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 did not follow the usual legislative process resulting in legislation that was less than desirable in many ways and the current political climate makes a legislative solution unlikely. Since its enactment, the NCCMP has worked closely with the White House and federal agencies with jurisdiction over the Act’s implementation to advance the multiemployer community’s interests.
WHAT IS THE NCCMP’S ROLE IN THE REGULATORY PROCESS?
The NCCMP is actively engaged with federal administrative agencies including the Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Health and Human Services, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the General Accountability Office as they develop and implement regulations affecting multiemployer benefit plans. Through regular formal and informal discussions, meetings, testimony and written submissions, the NCCMP provides agency officials with your unique perspective. On request, we have also provided training assistance to federal agencies to help them better understand the nature and operations of our plans. More directly, the NCCMP files and coordinates the filing of comments with federal agencies on all significant proposed regulations, Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) or Requests for Information. Most recently this process has been dominated by the onslaught of proposed rules implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In addition, the NCCMP was actively engaged with the SEC in helping to shape the protections for whistleblowers under the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act), filing comments and meeting with members of the Commission on behalf of the multiemployer institutional investor community.
WHAT IS THE NCCMP’S ROLE IN THE JUDICIAL PROCESS?
The court system makes some of the most important decisions involving multiemployer plans – and the NCCMP is there. The NCCMP participates by submitting amicus curiae (or “friend of the court”) briefs in virtually all Supreme Court cases affecting multiemployer plans and in many precedent-setting courts of appeals cases. When a decision is not favorable to our members, the NCCMP is prepared to seek a legislative remedy.
WHO ARE THE NCCMP’S LEADERSHIP?
The NCCMP has a voluntary board of directors, representing plans, unions and employers chosen and known for their involvement with and commitment to multiemployer plans. In addition, the Board has created a Steering Committee comprised of a cross-section of our Contributing and Sustaining members to provide immediate feedback and direction to the staff on ongoing matters of a more technical nature affecting the membership. The NCCMP professional staff and consultants form the nucleus of the NCCMP Working Committee, which includes attorneys, actuaries, benefits experts and legislative representatives with vast multiemployer plan experience who perform the day-to-day work of the organization.
WHO ARE THE NCCMP’S MEMBERS?
The NCCMP has several membership categories under which plans, their sponsoring organizations and professional advisors may join. International Unions and National Employer Associations may join as Contributing Members. National and Large Regional plans that wish to have a more active role in the direction of the NCCMP may join as Sustaining Members. Contributing and/or Sustaining membership status is required for participation on the NCCMP Board of Directors and Steering Committee. Regular membership is available to all other local, regional and national multiemployer plans, local unions, employer associations and individual companies that sponsor multiemployer plans. Dues for regular members are determined by the size of the group. One membership can cover all benefit plans sponsored by the same participants.
Associate membership is available to fund professional adviors (including investment managers, consultants, accountants, actuaries, attorneys, administrators and other service providers) who support the goals and activities of the NCCMP and wish to be associated with the NCCMP as an indication of their commitment to the multiemployer marketplace. Associate members will receive all publications, Multi-Elerts®, and discounted conference registration fees.
NCCMP members represent national, regional and local benefit plans covering workers in the airline, automotive, building and construction trades, bakery and confectionery, textile, entertainment, food (production, transportation and retail sales), retail, wholesale and department stores, health care, hospitality, building services, office and professional, long shore, maritime, mining, paper, chemical, transportation and trucking industries.
HOW ARE THE NCCMP’S ACTIVITIES FINANCED?
The NCCMP depends on membership dues for its program income. One annual dues payment covers all related plans covering the same participants and may be apportioned among such plans.
“WE BELONG TO THE INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION OF EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS. DO WE REALLY NEED TO BELONG TO ANOTHER GROUP?”
Absolutely -- The International Foundation and the NCCMP each serve important, but quite different purposes, even though they both serve some of the same groups of plans. The International Foundation is an educational forum for all types of benefit plans (corporate, public and multiemployer), but it is prohibited by its own tax status from advocating or promoting legislation or regulations on behalf any particular group or viewpoint.
Conversely, the NCCMP is the only organization specifically created to act as an advocate on behalf of multiemployer plans. It is organized as a social welfare organization under the tax code; therefore it can and does function as your “voice” before Congress and the regulatory agencies with jurisdiction over our plans; to influence, from your point of view, the creation of laws and regulations that will govern multiemployer plans, before they become a reality. The NCCMP also educates members on critical matters of importance to plan fiduciaries, settlors, professional advisors and participants, conducting an annual educational conference, meetings for professional advisors directly with key staff and agency officials for its members.
HOW DOES MY ORGANIZATION BECOME A MEMBER?
Plans, plan sponsors and fund professionals interested in membership should make their request in writing to the NCCMP at the address shown below.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF NCCMP MEMBERSHIP?
In addition to ensuring that your voice is heard, NCCMP membership enables your plan trustees, administrators and professionals to receive NCCMP publications, educational/advisory materials and discount registration fees for the annual NCCMP Conference. It also provides an opportunity to participate in the Annual NCCMP Lawyers and Administrators Advisory Committee meeting as well as the annual meeting of the International Consortium of Advocates for Worker Benefit Security, a group comprised of our multiemployer plan advocate counterparts from the U.S., Canada and the European Union.
CAN NCCMP MEMBERSHIP DUES BE PAID OUT OF PLAN ASSETS?
Yes. Membership in the NCCMP is a legitimate expenditure for a tax-exempt employee benefit fund. This opinion has been upheld by the Department of Labor during the course of a plan investigation which raised that specific question. Of course, each plan should check with its own professional advisors for a formal opinion regarding any matter requiring a legal interpretation.
WHAT IS THE EASIEST WAY TO KEEP TRACK OF THE NCCMP’S WORK AND MULTIEMPLOYER ISSUES GENERALLY?
Like many organizations, the NCCMP has moved away from the U.S. mails as the primary form of communication, primarily due to the lead time required to prepare timely information that members can use in communicating with their legislators. Therefore, we moved to a computer based communications system as our primary form of advising members of important pending issues. Additionally, we maintain a website for those members with computer access. The website address is www.nccmp.org. The website includes headlines derived from the World Wide Web that are of interest to multiemployer plan sponsors and fund professionals. In addition, the website contains information on pending legislation affecting multiemployer plans as well as NCCMP Multi-Elerts, all NCCMP comments to regulatory agencies, and amicus briefs filed with the courts. The site also contains a searchable database of historical archived items dating from the creation of the NCCMP.
IF WE HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS, WHOM DO WE CALL?
The NCCMP offices are located at 815 16th Street, N.W., Washington, DC, 20006. Please direct questions in writing to the attention of Michael Scott, Executive Director. Questions pertaining to membership dues or conference registration should be directed to the attention of Margaret M. Tobin, Membership Services Coordinator, at the above mailing address, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also reach the NCCMP by telephone at (202) 737-5315, or by fax at (202) 737-1308.
Whom Do We Call?
The NCCMP has offices located at 815 16th Street, N.W., Washington, DC. Questions can be directed to Executive Director Michael D. Scott in writing at that address, or by e-mail to email@example.com. You can also reach the NCCMP by telephone at (202) 737-5315, or by fax at (202) 737-1308.