Summary Plan Description
Rights Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
Participants in the Carpenters-Employers Vacation Plan of Western Washington are entitled to certain rights and protections under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). ERISA provides that all plan participants are entitled to:
Receive Information About Your Plan and Plan Benefits
- Examine, without charge, at the Trust Office and at other specified locations, such as worksites and union halls, all plan documents governing the plan, including insurance contracts and collective bargaining agreements, and a copy of the latest annual report (Form 5500 Series) filed by the plan with the U.S. Department of Labor and available at the Public Disclosure Room of the Employee Benefits Security Administration.
- Obtain, upon written request to the plan administrator, copies of documents governing the operation of the plan, including insurance contracts and collective bargaining agreements, and copies of the latest annual report (Form 5500 Series) and an updated summary plan description. The plan administrator may make a reasonable charge for the copies.
- Receive a summary of the plan’s annual financial report. The plan administrator is required by law to furnish each participant with a copy of this summary annual report.
Prudent Actions By Plan Fiduciaries
In addition to creating rights for plan participants, ERISA imposes duties upon the people who are responsible for the operation of the plan. The people who operate your plan, called “fiduciaries” of the plan, have a duty to do so prudently and in the interest of all plan participants and beneficiaries. No one, including your employer, your union, or any other person, may fire you or otherwise discriminate against you in any way to prevent you from obtaining a benefit or exercising your rights under ERISA.
Enforce Your Rights
If your claim for a benefit is denied or ignored,
in whole or in part, you have a right to know
why this was done, to obtain copies of documents
relating to the decision without charge, and to appeal any denial, all within certain time schedules.
Under ERISA, there are steps you can take to enforce the above rights. For instance:
- If you request materials from the 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 plan administrator 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 plan administrator.
- If you have a claim for benefits which is denied or ignored, in whole or in part, you may request a hearing and appeal to arbitration. In the alternative, a suit may be filed, but the court may dismiss the action in favor of the Trust’s hearing and arbitration procedures.
- If it should happen that plan fiduciaries misuse the plan’s money, or if you are discriminated against for asserting your rights, you may seek assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor, or you may 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 sued to pay these costs and fees. If you lose, the court may order you to pay these costs and fees, for example, if it finds the claim is frivolous.
Assistance With Your Questions
If you have any questions about this plan, contact the plan administrator. If you have any questions about this statement or about your rights under ERISA, you should contact the Department of Labor at one of the following addresses, for assistance and information:
Employee Benefits Security Administration,
U.S. Department of Labor,
Seattle District Office
1111 Third Avenue, Suite 860
Seattle, WA 98101-3212
Phone (206) 553-4244; or
Division of Technical Assistance and Inquiries,
Employee Benefits Security Administration
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210
You may also obtain certain publications about your rights and responsibilities under ERISA by calling the publications hotline for the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). For single copies of publications, contact the EBSA Brochure Request Line at (800) 998-1542 or contact the EBSA field office nearest you. You may also find answers to your plan questions at the website of the EBSA at www.dol.gov/ebsa/.
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