SBD/February 13, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

MLB Owners "Quietly" Voted To Allow Clubs To Cut Pensions For Non-Uniformed Personnel

MLB owners voted in January to “allow individual teams to slash or eliminate pension-plan offerings to their non-uniformed personnel” despite the league earning more than $8B in revenue in '13, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN N.Y. The vote, "tabled a year earlier when the intention became public, quietly took place Jan. 16 at the quarterly owners meetings.” The retirement plans of any baseball employee not wearing an MLB uniform "may be affected by the decision, including secretaries, scouts, front-office executives, and minor league staff." MLB COO Rob Manfred noted that no team "has yet acted to reduce employee pension benefits." He said, "The change in the rule does not require a club to change anything. All 30 clubs are free to leave their plans exactly where they are and, in fact, no club has made a change. This change gives the clubs the ability to put together what they feel is a competitive pension program in their particular market." He added, "Large corporations all over America make adjustments in their pension plans." Rubin reported team owners "technically voted to repeal the 'compatibility rule.’” That mandated that each team "provide a pension to employees through the Non-Uniformed Personnel Pension Plan, or provide something of equivalent quality." Now, any individual team "will be free to reduce the quality -- or eliminate the pension offering entirely." Manfred: "This is a complicated area. Changing pensions isn't easy"  (ESPNNY.com, 2/12).
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