Scary stuff. I do recall, when looking through the PBGC site for details on my own protections, seeing these 'special rules' for multi-employer plans. They didn't apply to me, so I didn't dig into it, but they sure looked sketchy. I figured there were other protections built in (apparently not enough, according to this article).
But we've all seen statements like the following, and it just has me scratching my head:
Each company was making a final contribution to what is known as a “wasting trust,” which would have enough money to pay everyone’s pensions for the rest of their lives. Then the stock market crashed in 2008. Much of the money in the pool melted away, and there was no one left to turn to for more.
OK, and now the market is well above it's pre-2008 peaks - so hasn't that excuse (allowing for withdrawals at the lows) mostly gone away?