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NEWS
By Los Angeles Times | January 11, 1994
The pension savings and health coverage of thousands of workers are at risk because financially troubled small-business owners increasingly are diverting funds earmarked for employee benefits to other corporate purposes, federal officials say.Ranking officials in the U.S. Department of Labor say they have discovered a growing problem involving ailing companies stealing worker contributions to the highly popular 401(k) pension plans and health insurance premiums -- a federal felony.While labor officials pledge to prosecute all such violations, pension experts maintain that official sanctions often come too late to help workers, who may find serious shortages in their retirement savings or discover -- after filing a claim -- that their health insurance was canceled.
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NEWS
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | November 18, 2012
They haven't solved the nation's fiscal crisis yet, but an advocacy group forming Monday in Maryland already has accomplished another political miracle: bringing together the operatives of Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. A bipartisan coalition of business leaders and high-profile political aides - including the former chiefs of staff to O'Malley and Ehrlich - are launching a state chapter of the...
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BUSINESS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,Washington Bureau of The Sun | November 28, 1990
WASHINGTON -- Workers' benefits under plans funded by their own companies cannot be modified to satisfy state insurance laws, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday in a decision that may affect more than 10 million employees nationwide.Even if state insurance controls would alter benefit plans in the workers' favor, the court made clear, those controls can never be applied to "self-funded" plans.Such plans, which rose sharply in popularity beginning about 20 years ago, now provide employee benefits in four of every five of the nation's larger companies, the court had been advised.
NEWS
July 26, 2012
The Sun's recent editorial on public pensions ("Prudence and public pensions," July 20) misses the mark in several respects. Readers should be forewarned that The Sun's proposed solution - a switch to defined contribution plans - is a recipe for increased costs and decreased retirement security. Walking away from the fiscal efficiencies of defined benefit plans and closing one plan while opening another serve to drive up the state's costs. Moreover, moving to a defined contribution plan typically leads to a drastically decreased benefit and an increased reliance on social services by retirees, again driving up state costs.
BUSINESS
By William Patalon III and William Patalon III,SUN STAFF | December 19, 1997
The U.S. Department of Labor has sued -Maggio-Onorato & Associates Inc., alleging the Towson-based company and its owners reaped $10 million in illegal commissions on insurance policies it sold to employee-benefits plans it administered for 300 home health care agencies.Filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, the suit alleges that Andrew Maggio and Richard Onorato, as administrators of the benefit plans, broke federal pension plan laws by collecting the insurance commissions at the same time they were receiving management fees.
BUSINESS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,Washington Bureau of The Sun | April 4, 1995
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court yesterday cleared away much, if not all, doubt that companies have the right to cut off or sharply lower the health coverage they provide for retired workers.The justices voted to leave intact a broad ruling by a federal appeals court that --ed the hopes of more than 600 pensioners -- including many Marylanders -- of regaining free lifetime health benefits from the company that formerly was Maryland Cup Co.The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., the court that decides federal issues for an area including Maryland, ruled in September that a federal law governing workers' benefits gives companies a right to amend or terminate employee benefit plans -- a right that the appeals court said exists automatically, unless the company voluntarily surrenders it.By declining to review that decision, the Supreme Court did not endorse it directly.
BUSINESS
By Georgia C. Marudas and Georgia C. Marudas,Evening Sun Staff | March 25, 1991
How can you know if your pension is safe?The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the government agency that currently insures $800 billion of promised pension benefits, annually sends ripples of worry through the ranks of employees when it lists large companies with underfunded pension plans.This year's list put the underfunding by 50 large companies at $14.2 billion. All together, insured private pension plans are underfunded by some $20 billion to $30 billion, with much of that concentrated in the steel, auto and airline industries, the agency said.
NEWS
By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | October 9, 2000
WASHINGTON - With legislation to define patients' rights languishing in Congress, Clinton administration officials say they will soon issue rules that establish many of the same protections for most Americans with private health insurance. The rules, to be issued in final form before Election Day, will set new federal standards for the handling of claims under employee health benefit plans, the officials said. The standards have not been substantially revised since they were adopted in 1977, before the widespread use of managed health care.
BUSINESS
By Journal of Commerce | September 23, 1993
NEW YORK -- Officers of the International Longshoremen's Association are expected today to approve a two-year contract extension that would include the union forgoing a scheduled wage increase in order to maintain existing benefits, sources close to the negotiations said yesterday.The ILA's master contract covering all container work for the East and Gulf coasts does not expire until Sept. 30, 1994.But John Bowers, union president, had previously announced that the union wanted to extend the contract in order to avoid any risk of a strike while a new contract is negotiated and to preserve benefits.
BUSINESS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | June 23, 1998
WASHINGTON -- Rebuffing Maryland officials, the Supreme Court yesterday refused to consider a plea that states be allowed to prevent companies from using self-insured health plans to evade state mandates on the type of benefit they must provide.Maryland officials have thus lost their bid to regulate the use of so-called "stop-loss insurance" policies, which are designed to offset unexpected losses in covering health benefits. Such policies have become increasingly popular in recent years -- a trend that state officials contend directly relates to the growing number of benefits the General Assembly is requiring of health insurance policies within its reach.
EXPLORE
November 6, 2011
Rebecca Dongarra ("Donations should not set value of PUD development," Catonsville Times, Nov. 2) demonstrates, letter after letter, her uncanny addiction to pontificate for paragraphs on end without ever getting the facts right. For the record, all defined community benefits associated with our Southwest Physicians Pavilion PUD are specific to our immediate neighborhood. We propose a quarter million dollars in permanent signalization at Wilkens and Kenwood avenues, one block from our site, to provide traffic management that does not currently exist.
NEWS
October 19, 2010
Imagine buying something without being told how much it really costs. Worse, what you don't know could ruin your finances: It could be the difference between a comfortable retirement and savings that come up tens of thousands of dollars short. That's not a hypothetical. Tax-deferred 401(k) retirement savings accounts have been operating for years without disclosing management fees and other charges made to workers. On Saturday, the U.S. Department of Labor finally announced rules requiring companies to give detailed information so consumers can compare the cost of their choices.
NEWS
By Julie Scharper | julie.scharper@baltsun.com | January 12, 2010
Baltimore's mayor-to-be Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake vowed Monday to re-examine the city's pension plan for elected leaders in the wake of outrage over Mayor Sheila Dixon's $83,000-a-year benefit and to strengthen ethics laws governing city officials. "It's understandable that people are very upset about the prospect of a lifetime pension," City Council President Rawlings-Blake said during a lengthy interview with The Baltimore Sun's editorial board. "I know there are ways we can look at other pension systems around the country, to kind of close these loopholes."
NEWS
By Josh Mitchell and Josh Mitchell,Sun Reporter | October 16, 2006
Thanks to a policy set three decades ago, some politicians up for re-election in Baltimore County next month stand to reap the benefits of what is arguably the region's most lucrative pension plan for elected officials. Four of the seven County Council members would be in line for annual pensions of more than $40,000 if re-elected. And one county councilman could, with a win, look forward to being the first on the panel to collect the equivalent of his full salary of $54,000 - for life.
BUSINESS
By MARKETWATCH | December 16, 2005
WASHINGTON -- The House of Representatives passed legislation yesterday designed to shore up the nation's defined-benefit pension system, but backers still must resolve differences with the Senate and overcome White House warnings that the legislation isn't tough enough. The House voted 294-132 to clear the Republican-backed bill, with 70 Democrats joining most Republicans in support after the bill's sponsors agreed to change provisions regarding future pension benefit increases and benefits for employees affected by plant shutdowns.
BUSINESS
By BLOOMBERG NEWS | October 7, 2005
Lockheed Martin Corp. will no longer offer traditional pensions and post-retirement health care contributions to new salaried employees to cut costs. New hires as of Jan. 1 will not be eligible for defined-benefit pensions and will instead be provided a defined-contribution plan, Bethesda-based Lockheed said in a note to 85,000 salaried workers yesterday. That will save the company at least $125 million over the next 15 years, said Chief Financial Officer Christopher Kubasik. Lockheed's contributions to retiree health plans and pensions have almost doubled in the past two years as investment returns haven't kept pace with rising benefit payouts.
BUSINESS
By BLOOMBERG NEWS | May 28, 2003
WASHINGTON - Black & Decker Corp. won a U.S. Supreme Court decision yesterday bolstering employers' authority to deny disability benefits to workers. The justices ruled unanimously that employer-sponsored benefit plans do not have to defer to the opinion of a worker's treating doctor when making a disability decision. The justices set aside a lower court ruling that had sided with a former Black & Decker worker seeking benefits because of back problems. "Courts have no warrant to require administrators automatically to accord special weight to the opinions of a claimant's physician," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the court.
BUSINESS
By Journal of Commerce | September 23, 1990
The crunch is on again, with time dwindling rapidly for reaching a new labor agreement for the International Longshoremen's Association before the current contract expires Nov. 30.Although neither the ILA nor its employers are ready to warn of a December strike, the shipping industry would be justifiably concerned about such a possibility.The two sides have been discussing a new master contract since September 1988.Yet two years later and a bit more than two months before the current contract expires, the two parties aren't any closer to agreement than they were a year ago when they extended the contract until Nov. 30.The latest round of contract talks fizzled out earlier this month in Tampa, Fla., with both sides' hard-line stances unwavering on the important issues of wages, gang sizes and contributions to union benefit plans -- an indication of the seriousness with which both management and labor view the contract and the impact it will have on the industry.
SPORTS
By Edward Lee and Edward Lee,SUN STAFF | September 30, 2004
As Loyola High junior defensive back/running back Van Brooks remained in serious condition at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, the school and its community of parents and boosters announced yesterday a series of fund-raisers to help defray the cost of Brooks' medical bills. Loyola has established the Van Brooks Recovery Fund, which was conceived by a group of parents. Contributions can be sent by mail to the Van Brooks Recovery Fund, c/o Provident Bank of Maryland, 1954 Greenspring Drive, Suite 400, Timonium, MD 21093.
NEWS
By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | October 19, 2003
WASHINGTON - President Bush's support among older voters has dropped substantially in recent months, eroding Republican gains and highlighting the importance of this critical electoral group next year, political strategists and analysts say. The trend underscores the stakes for Bush in the congressional negotiations aimed at creating a long-promised prescription drug benefit in Medicare, which covers 40 million elderly and disabled Americans. Negotiators missed a self-imposed deadline Friday for reaching agreement on the prescription legislation, but vowed to complete their work before Congress adjourns, which is expected next month.
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