The $1.1 billion Bricklayers & Trowel Trades International Pension Fund recently expanded its 401(k) plan offerings and hired an investment manager, but it is unclear how many union members will take the bait, said Peter Straub, deputy administrator.

"We have 196 local unions," Straub said. "The new offerings don't affect the pension fund at all … any eligible member can participate but each local union has to decide whether or not their members can. Everyone is aware that the market has not co-operated with us. It has literally fallen apart."

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