On January 24, 2016, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) filed a lawsuit against nine current or former trustees of the IAM National Pension Fund and the Fund. The lawsuit alleges many violations of the federal law that provides protections for employees in pension plans.
The nine individual defendants include current and former senior officers of the IAM, including former General Secretary-Treasurer Robert L. Roach and current International President Robert G. Martinez. As trustees of the IAM’s pension plan, these individuals had strict legal obligations – called fiduciary duties – to act in the best interests of the plan and its participant IAM members. The lawsuit alleges serious and repeated violations of these responsibilities, all at the expense of the pension plan and the IAM members’ retirement security that the defendants were entrusted to protect.
The many allegations include:
The DOL said: “This case clearly shows how the fund and its trustees shirked fiduciary responsibilities to the detriment of pension fund participants. The [DOL] will not tolerate when fiduciaries fall short of their legal obligations, and will take every necessary action to hold them accountable.”
In addition to other relief, the lawsuit seeks monetary damages to restore any losses the Fund suffered, as well as the return of any financial benefit or compensation realized as a result of the alleged violations.
According to the IAM, its National Pension Fund is the 5th largest multiemployer pension fund in the U.S., with more than 100,000 active participants.