Caribbean International News Corp. has been ordered by a federal court to restore more than $1.2 million to the El Vocero de Puerto Rico Union Employees Savings and Investment Plan, a retirement plan established for the benefit of the company's unionized employees. The corporation does business as El Vocero de Puerto Rico, a newspaper based in San Juan.
A lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor simultaneously with the judgment alleges that El Vocero violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by failing to deposit into the plan contributions withheld from employees' wages and to collect matching employer contributions during the period from 2003 to 2006. The suit also alleges that the company owed $1,432,233 to the plan.
"Protecting workers' retirement funds is one of the highest priorities of this administration," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "The Labor Department's legal action orders El Vocero to restore more than $1.2 million to ensure that these workers are made whole and that money is set aside to pay benefits."
The court judgment orders the employer to pay immediately the full amount owed to the plan. The amount now due is $1,282,233, which is the original amount found due minus $150,000 already paid by El Vocero between December 2008 and July 2009 to reduce its obligation to the plan.
This case was investigated by the department's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) Miami District Office at the direction of the agency's Atlanta Regional Office. The legal actions announced today were filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico.
Employers and workers can contact EBSA at 404-302-3900 or toll-free at 866-444-3272 for help with any problems relating to private sector pension and health plans. In fiscal year 2008, EBSA achieved monetary results of $1.2 billion related to pension, 401(k), health and other benefits for millions of American workers and their families.
Solis v. Caribbean International News Corp. doing business as El Vocero de Puerto Rico
Civil Action Number: 09-CV-2064
Source: U.S. Department of Labor