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1/16/2005

CHAO UNVEILS PENSION GUARANTEE PLAN

Warning the federal agency that guarantees traditional private pensions is heading for a financial crunch, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao unveiled a new financing plan for it.

Her plan, announced Jan. 10, features higher payments by firms with higher risks of default--such as airlines--changes in pension funding rules and, she says, more disclosure to workers.

Traditional pension plans, with assets totaling about $1.8 trillion, cover some 34 million workers, she said.

But when the companies involved go bankrupt, as Bethlehem Steel did several years ago, or as United Airlines now is, the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., steps in and takes over the plans. (MORE >>>)

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