Cornell University

Labor and Employment Law Program

16 E. 34th Street, 4th Floor, 212-340-2866

A Conversation with Josh Gotbaum on the Future of Pensions

March 21, 2014 - New York City

Josh Gotbaum is the Director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), created as part of the 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to protect defined benefit pension plans. 

In this forum, Mr. Gotbaum discussed the crisis facing pension plans, both in and out of bankruptcy. With defined benefit plans disappearing due to underfunding and bankruptcy proceedings, and more employers offering only defined contribution plans like 401(K)s, retirees are increasingly at risk.

Mr. Gotbaum focused on three areas:

  • Should ERISA be amended to bring it in line with today's reality and perhaps change the focus from regulating employers to regulating plans? Is Senator Tom Harkin's proposed legislation to set up a privately run portable retirement plan—USA Funds—the answer?
  • The role of the BPGC in bankruptcy with expertise but limited power as an unsecured creditor
  • The survival of multi-employer plans

Providing commentary and thoughts on bankruptcy and amending ERISA were:

  • Richard Seltzer, Esq., Partner, Cohen, Weiss & Simon LLP—bankruptcy expert, representing unions on the implication for unions and collective bargaining
  • Susan Hoffman, Esq., Shareholder, Littler Mendelson PC—ERISA expert, representing management on employer's liability

HELD ON: Friday, March 21, 2014 from 8:30am - 11:00 am.
LOCATION: Cornell ILR NYC Conference Center, 16 East 34th Street, 6th floor, New York, NY 10016
CLE CREDIT: 2.0 CLEs – Professional Practice (Transitional and Non-Transitional)

Co-sponsored by: Lowenstein Sandler LLP

Presenter Bios

Richard Seltzer Presentation on ERISA at 40 and the Harkin Legislation: A Union Perspective
Richard Seltzer Presentation on Bankruptcy, Unions, the PBGC, and Multiemployer Plans
Josh Gotbaum's Presentation on ERISA at 40 - Thoughts on Retirement Security
Susan Katz Hoffman's Presentation on Multiemployer Pension Plans

ABI Commission to Study Reform of Chapter 11, Statement of Hon. Joshua Gotbaum (March 14, 2013)
AMR Corporation, United States Bankruptcy Court Southern District of New York, 11-15463 (SHL) (2012).
Defrehn, Randy G. and Joshua Shapiro. A Report on the Proceedings, Findings and Recommendations of the Retirement Security Review Commission of the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans. NCCMP—National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans (February 2013).
Harkin, Senator Tom, The Retirement Crisis and a Plan to Solve It. US Senate Committee on Health Education Labor & Pensions (July 2012).
Helman, Ruth; Nevin Adams; Craig Copeland; Jack VanDerhei, "The 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey: Confidence Rebounds—for Those With Retirement Plans."—Employee Benefit Research Institute. Number 397 (March 2014).
Myths vs. Facts; Dispelling Misinformation Surrounding the Multiemployer Community's Pension Reform Proposals. NCCMP—National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans (2013).
Sun Capital Partners III v. New England Teamsters & Trucking Industry Pension Fund, 724 F.3d 129 (1st Cir. 2013).