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labor-management trust agreement under Labor Management Cooperation Act


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I represent a labor-management relations fund which is intended to comply with Section 302(c)(9) of the Labor-Management Relations Act, under an amendment adopted by the Labor-Management Cooperation Act of 1978. The DOL has consistently taken the position that since such funds provide neither a pension benefit nor a welfare benefit that they are not subject to ERISA. Ironically, there are a number of court cases in which such funds sue to recover delinquent contributions under ERISA Section 515 which have been accepted by the courts (presumably because the opposing party never raised the ERISA issue as a  defense). Does anyone have a sample or specimen trust agreement that can be used for such an arrangement to the extent it is funded by employer contributions?

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I have no sample form of agreement to offer you.

For such a § 302(c)(9) trust, I imagine one might look to § 5(b) of the Labor Management Cooperation Act of 1978, at least to consider the trust’s proper purposes.

And if ERISA does not govern the trust (and so does not preempt State law), one might look to a relevant State’s trust code and other law to consider which provisions are mandatory, and which default provisions a trust agreement may negate or change—after considering provisions labor-relations law commands or otherwise requires.

Peter Gulia PC

Fiduciary Guidance Counsel

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania



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I appreciate your response, especially your good faith effort in attempting to answer my question. The curious thing about this statute is that it makes a lot of minor surgical changes to several labor law statutes because it is slapped onto the end of a statute amending the CETA Act. There is a Section 5 (which is presumably a section of the Labor-Management Cooperation Act), but subsection (b) does not appear to contain anything resembling proper purposes for trust funds, let alone committees advancing labor-management cooperation. 

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