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The 2015 Pension 40: Sean McGarvey

No. 10 Sean McGarvey, President / North American Building Trades Unions

Sean McGarvey
President /
North American Building Trades Unions
Last year: Not ranked

As president of the North American Building Trades Unions, with 13 unions representing more than 2 million workers in the U.S. and Canada, and chairman of the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans (NCCMP), Sean McGarvey, 53, knows the importance of protecting union workers’ retirement savings. He was instrumental to the passage of the Kline-Miller Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014, which allows severely underfunded Taft-Hartley plans to restructure, even if it means retirees and workers take a hit to their pensions. “We all have wants, wishes and desires to save those plans without any pain,” McGarvey says. “Unfortunately, in the economy we live in and the state of our politics, that just isn’t possible. So the question is, How do we do this?” The International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ Central States pension plan quickly filed for restructuring after the bill passed, and McGarvey says he knows of at least four others ready to follow. “Communication is key,” says McGarvey, whose father is among the retirees likely to be affected by benefit changes under the act. For McGarvey the work continues. He’s still hoping to implement a third key element of the legislation before the end of the 2016 session that would offer a new structure for multiemployer plans. McGarvey started working as an apprentice glazer in Philadelphia in 1981, was elected his local’s business representative in 1994, then ascended the union ranks. He’s excited by the Department of Labor’s recent decision to roll back its 2008 guidance on so-called economically targeted investments; he and other labor leaders believe this will help pension plans make financially sound investment decisions while creating jobs for workers. “We feel it’s time industry invested in itself and its members invested in themselves,” he says.

The 2015 Pension 40

1. Bruce Rauner
2. John & Laura Arnold
Laura and John Arnold Foundation
3. Chris Christie
New Jersey
4. Randi Weingarten
AmericanFederation of Teachers
5. Phyllis Borzi
U.S. Department of Labor
6. Kevin de León
7. Alejandro García Padilla
Commonwealth ofPuerto Rico
8. Laurence Fink
9. Rahm Emanuel
10. Sean McGarvey
North AmericanBuilding Trades Unions
11. John Kline
12. J. Mark Iwry
U.S. TreasuryDepartment
13. Damon Silvers
14. Jeffrey Immelt
General Electric Co.
15. Joshua Gotbaum
Brookings Institution
16. Robin Diamonte
United Technologies Corp.
17. Mark Mullet
18. Terry O'Sullivan
Laborers' International Union of North America
19. Raymond Dalio
Bridgewater Associates
20. Ted Wheeler
21. Thomas Nyhan
Central States Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund
22. Karen Ferguson & Karen Friedman
Pensions Rights Center
23. Randy DeFrehn
National Coordinating Committee forMultiemployer Plans
24. Robert O'Keef
Motorola Solutions
25. Caitlin Long
Morgan Stanley
26. Kenneth Feinberg
The Law Offices of Kenneth R. Feinberg
27. Orrin Hatch
28. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
Center for Retirement Initiatives, Georgetown University
29. Ian Lanoff
Groom Law Group
30. Joshua Rauh
Stanford Graduate School of Business
31. Ted Eliopoulos
California Public Employees' Retirement System
32. Edward (Ted) Siedle
Benchmark Financial Services
33. Teresa Ghilarducci
New School for Social Research
34. Denise Nappier
35. W. Thomas Reeder Jr.
Pension BenefitGuaranty Corp.
36. Hank Kim
National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems
37. Paul Singer
Elliott Management Corp.
38. Bailey Childers
National PublicPension Coalition
39. Amy Kessler
Prudential Financial
40. Judy Mares
U.S. Labor Department

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