Western Union to Add $4.1 Million to Pension Plans

By Staff Report

Aug. 24, 2009

Western Union Financial Services Inc. will make a $4.1 million cash contribution to its defined-benefit plans, under an agreement with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., according to a news release from the pension insurer.

Under the agreement, Englewood, Colorado-based Western Union will make the contribution—in addition to any other required payments—to its plans by September 11, according to the release.

The PBGC said in the release that the agreement was made because ERISA requires the agency to seek additional protection when more than 20 percent of a company’s employees covered by a pension plan lose their jobs at a company facility. Western Union shut down a call center in Bridgeton, Missouri, on August 7, 2008, resulting in 153, or 44 percent, of the call center’s 351 employees losing their jobs.

“Under the agreement, Western Union is putting more money into the plan for the benefit of participants and to reduce risk to the PBGC insurance program by enhancing the plan’s financial health,” the news release said.

Steve Gawlik, a Western Union spokesman, said the company did not release the total assets in its two defined benefit plans, which he said are frozen.

According to a company 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Western Union’s two plans had unfunded pension obligations of $107.1 million as of December 31.

According to the 2009 Money Market Directory, one of Western Union’s defined benefit plans had assets of $357 million as of December 2007, while the other had assets of $28 million as of September 2007.

Along with the $4.1 million contribution, the SEC filing said the company estimated it would be required to contribute $25 million to the plans in 2010.

Filed by Doug Halonen of Pensions & Investments, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

Stay informed and connected. Get human resources news and HR features via Workforce Management’s Twitter feed or RSS feeds for mobile devices and news readers.

Schedule, engage, and pay your staff in one system with