US - The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) reached an agreement with Western Union Financial Services aimed at strengthening the funding of the company's retirement plan.
Under the deal, Western Union will make a $4.1m cash payment for the 2008 plan year that will be in addition to any required payments to the pension plan.
The agreement follows the shutdown of a company's customer call center at the beginning of August, where 153 (44%) of the facility's 351 employees lost their jobs.
According to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), the PBGC is required to seek additional protection when more than 20% percent of a company's employees covered by a pension plan lose their jobs due to a cessation of operations at a facility.
PBGC acting director Vince Snowbarger said: "We will continue to actively monitor corporate transactions that may weaken pension plan funding and negotiate appropriate protections."
As of July 31, 2009, the agency has negotiated 14 settlements involving cessation of operations. These agreements added a total of about $246m to pension plans covering over 28,000 workers and retirees.
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