1. HOW YOU ACCRUE BENEFITS
The California Winery Workers Pension Trust Fund experienced a mass withdrawal of the majority of contributing employers during the 2007 Plan Year, and all contributing employers had withdrawn by the end of the 2008 Plan Year. Withdrawn employers are no longer required under their Collective Bargaining Agreements to contribute to the Plan on behalf of their employees. Therefore, you will have no further benefit accruals under this Plan, effective with the date of withdrawal of your employer during the 2007 or 2008 Plan Year.
The Plan is considered terminated effective December 31, 2008 for some purposes, because all contributing employers have withdrawn, no additional contributions on behalf of employees will be made, and benefit accruals have ceased. However, the Plan continues to be administered by its Board of Trustees, and continues to pay benefits.
Below is a summary of how benefits were accrued prior to the withdrawal of all contributing employers.
Credited Service for covered employment for which contributions to the Plan were made, or required to be made, is called Future Service Credit. Future Service Credit is calculated differently for Vesting Credit and Benefit Credit purposes. If you worked under the collective bargaining agreement before your employer first contributed to the Plan, you may also qualify for Past Service Credit, which is also counted for both Vesting Credit and Benefit Credit purposes.
A. FUTURE SERVICE CREDIT
If you began work in covered employment after your Employer first contributed to the Plan, you earned your first Credited Service when contributions were first made on your behalf, and all of your Credited Service is Future Service. If you began work in covered employment before your Employer contributed to the Plan, the earliest on which you could earn Future Service Credit was July 1, 1960. However, you may have had a later entry date if your Employer and its bargaining unit employees were not admitted to participation until sometime after July 1, 1960.
Vesting Credit Through December 31, 2008
The amount of Vesting Credit you have accrued is based on the number of hours of covered employment you worked in each Plan Year. Since January 1, 1991, the Plan Year has been the calendar year. Before January 1, 1991, Plan Years were the time from July 1 of each year to June 30 of the next year, or in 1990, the time from July 1, 1990 to December 31, 1990. During any Plan Year starting on or after July 1, 1970 through the 2008 Plan Year, or the Plan Year in which your employer ceased to have an obligation to contribute to the Plan on your behalf, if earlier, you were granted a year of Credited Service for the purpose of vesting when you had been credited with at least one hundred sixty (160) hours of contributory employment for a participating Employer. From July 1, 1960, through June 30, 1970, a year of Credited Service for Vesting was granted for any year in which you worked at least one hour of contributory employment.
For the purpose of these rules, the term "hour" means any hour for which you were paid or were entitled to be paid under a collective bargaining agreement calling for contributions to this Plan with either of the Local Unions, after your probation period. It also includes hours for which you were paid or entitled to be paid by a Participating Employer, whether on an hourly or a salary basis, for work not covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement (i.e. management work), but only if you were employed on covered work without a quit, retirement, or discharge between the two periods of contiguous employment.
EXAMPLE: Let's say you had 5 years of Credited Service under a collective bargaining agreement, then accepted a management position for the same employer without a quit, retirement or discharge between the two positions, and did that work continuously for another 5 years. You would then have 10 years of Vesting Credit, five for Credited Service and five for contiguous service. (However, you would only have 5 years of Benefit Credit.)
Benefit Credit Through December 31, 2008
For purposes of benefit accrual, Credited Service during the period July 1, 1960 to June 30, 1970, includes only hours for which you were paid or were entitled to be paid under a collective bargaining agreement with a participating Local Union. For that period, Future Service Benefit Credits were based on your number of hours of service, up to 2,000 per Plan Year.
Benefits for service on and after July 1, 1970 through July 31, 2007 were calculated at a percentage of your average monthly straight time wages earned working for a contributing employer during a Plan Year and did not depend on hours of service as such.
Effective August 1, 2007, for the period from August 1, 2007 through December 31, 2007, Participants who had 750 or more hours of covered employment for a contributing employer in the 2007 Plan Year were credited with the fixed amount of $8.33.
Effective January 1, 2008, Participants who had 750 or more hours of covered employment for a contributing employer were credited with the fixed amount of $20.00 for that Plan Year.
All benefit accruals ceased on the date your employer ceased to have an obligation to contribute to the Plan on your behalf.
The amount of benefits payable for each period of Credited Service is summarized in a later section.
B. PAST SERVICE CREDIT
If you were working on July 1, 1960, in a collective bargaining unit which became covered under the Plan that day, you will receive Past Service Credit for each full year of Credited Past Service during the period July 1, 1940 to June 30, 1960, commencing with your last seniority date within that period, to a maximum of 20 years. Members of collective bargaining units which were admitted to participation after July 1, 1960, are not entitled to any Past Service Credit unless it is fully funded and expressly approved by the Board of Trustees. Past Service Credits count toward both vesting and benefit accrual.