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Annuity Rights & Protections


Legal Rights Under ERISA

As a Participant in the Annuity Plan, you are entitled to certain rights and protections under Federal Law via the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, (ERISA). ERISA entitles all Annuity Plan Participants to certain rights, as outlined here.


Information About Annuity Plans and Benefits

You have the right to:

Examine all documents governing the Annuity Plan, including insurance contracts, Collective Bargaining Agreements, and a copy of the latest annual report or Form 5500 filed by the Annuity Plan with the U.S. Department of Labor and available at the Public Disclosure Room of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). You may examine these documents without charge at the Fund Office and at other specified locations such as worksites and Union halls.

You may write and request the Fund Administrator to provide copies of documents governing the operation of the Annuity Plan, including insurance contracts, Collective Bargaining Agreements, and copies of the latest annual report or Form 5500 series and updated Summary Annuity Plan Description. There may be a reasonable charge for the copies.

Receive a summary of the Annuity Plan’s annual financial report. The Fund Administrator is required by law to provide this to all Participants.

A statement about your rights to receive an annuity at your Normal Retirement Date and, if so, what your benefits would be if you stopped working under the Annuity Plan now. If you do not have the right to an annuity, the statement will tell you how much longer you have to work to earn one. This statement must be requested in writing and may not be provided more than once every 12 months. The Annuity Plan must provide the statement free of charge.


Prudent Actions by Annuity Plan Fiduciaries

In addition to creating rights for Annuity Plan Participants, ERISA imposes duties upon the people responsible for operating an Annuity Plan referred to as Annuity Plan fiduciaries. Annuity Plan fiduciaries have a duty to operate the plan prudently and in the best interests of you and other Annuity Plan Participants and Beneficiaries. No one, including your Employer, any other person, or your Union, may fire you or otherwise discriminate against you in any way to prevent you from obtaining an annuity benefit or exercising your rights under ERISA.


Enforce Your Rights

If your claim for an annuity benefit is denied or ignored, you have the right to learn why this was done, to obtain free copies of documents relating to the decision, and to appeal a denial within a certain amount of time.

Under ERISA, you can take steps to enforce the above rights. For instance, if you request a copy of the Annuity Plan documents or the latest annual report from the Annuity Plan and do not receive them within 30 days, you may file suit in a federal court.

In such a case, the court may require the Board of Trustees through the Fund Office to provide the materials and pay you up to $110 a day until you receive the materials, unless the materials were not sent because of reasons beyond the control of the Board of Trustees.

If you have a claim for benefits that is denied or ignored you may file suit in a state or federal court. However, you may not begin any legal action, including proceedings before administrative agencies, until you have followed and exhausted the Annuity Plan’s claims and appeals procedures.

In addition, if you disagree with the Annuity Plan’s decision or lack thereof concerning the qualified status of a domestic relations order (QDRO), you may file suit in federal court.

If Annuity Plan fiduciaries misuse the Annuity Plan’s money or if you are discriminated against for asserting your rights, you may seek help from the U.S. Department of Labor or file suit in a federal court. The court will decide who should pay court costs and legal fees. If you are successful, the court may order the person you have sued to pay these costs and fees. If you lose, the court may order you to pay these costs and fees, if, for example, it finds your claim to be frivolous.


Assistance With Your Questions

If you have any questions about your Annuity Plan, you should contact the Fund Administrator at (925) 208-2280 or (800) 622-0547. If you have any questions about this statement or about your rights under ERISA, or if you need help obtaining documents from the Fund Office, you should contact the nearest office of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), U.S. Department of Labor, listed in your telephone directory or the national office as follows:


National Office

Division of Technical Assistance and Inquiries

Employee Benefits Security Administration

U.S. Department of Labor

200 Constitution Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20210



For more information about your rights and responsibilities under ERISA, visit www.dol.gov/ebsa.