US Union Pensions Hole Deepens to $369 Billion

By Dan McCrum and Ajay Makan, CNBC

The hole in the pension plans of U.S. labor unions now stands at $369 billion, Credit Suisse has calculated with the aid of new reporting standards. This raises the prospect of higher pension contributions for employers and deteriorating industrial relations.

Multi-employer pension schemes, managed by trade unions on behalf of members working for many different employers, are now just 52 percent funded, the bank calculates with most of the burden to close this gap likely to fall on small and midsize companies.

S&P 500 companies’ share of this obligation is estimated at just $43 billion. However Credit Suisse identifies seven large companies in the S&P, includingSafeway [SWY  19.61    -0.11  (-0.56%)   ] and UPS [UPS  79.35    -0.83  (-1.04%)   ], where the pension liability is a significant proportion of their market capitalization.

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