Central States Financial Update

The Central States Pension Fund ended the second quarter on June 30, 2016, with $15.6 billion in assets, down $500 million since the start of the year, according to the Financial and Analytical Report obtained and reviewed by Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU).


The fund is on a downward trajectory primarily due to the disastrous ratio of 59,234 active participants, while paying benefits to 204,115 retirees and surviving spouses. This means the fund must pay out $2.8 billion in benefits in 2016, with expected income from employer contributions of $754 million. Thus the fund must earn $2.0 billion from investments to break even, which represents a 13% return on investment.

The Second Quarter Independent Special Counsel Report acknowledges the problem, but in 16 pages it has one (1) sentence mentioning the work being done to find a solution: “The Trustees have also resolved to continue to cooperate with Congress, regulatory agencies, unions, employers and private parties and organizations to search for a solution…” 

This is not true. The fund has done little or nothing to cooperate with rank and file Teamsters, the AARP, the Pension Rights Center, TDU, other unions, and the Teamsters. Instead of joining the battle to save Teamster pensions, the fund Trustees and Director Thomas Nyhan sit on the sidelines.

The report also notes that –

  • The Government Accounting Office (GAO) is auditing the Fund at the request of Senator Charles Grassley and other Representatives, and “it is not known when these reports will be completed.” The rank and file Pension Protection Movement caused this audit to take place.
  • Gary Dunham, the secretary treasurer of Cedar Rapids Iowa Local 238 was confirmed as a union trustee, replacing Bill Lichtenwald, who was charged by the IRB for corruption in the Ohio Conference of Teamsters. Dunham’s appointment by the union was approved by the US Department of Labor. So far, Dunham has refused to meet with members and pension protection activists. UPS Vice President Christopher Langan was re-appointed as an employer trustee of the Health and Welfare Fund only, and Ronald DeStefano was re-appointed an employer trustee of the Pension Fund only.
  • Investment returns for the 2nd quarter were 2.2%, slightly above average for comparable pension funds.
  • The fund will continue to fight the move by Kroger to exit the pension fund, including the lawsuit against the fund which Kroger is behind.

The Health and Welfare Fund Financial Report shows a completely different picture: the assets continue to grow every month. The H&W Fund has 190,468 active participants and 8,887 retiree participants.

Showing 5 reactions

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  • Lori Essig
    commented 2016-10-29 21:14:30 -0400
    Thirty seven fund managers and they can’t do a better job than they are doing? WTH!
    Why can’t we get rid of every single top level manager and get people in who will actually take their fiduciary responsibility to the members seriously?
    This is just as crooked as the Federal gov’t.
  • Donny Johnson
    commented 2016-10-27 03:58:20 -0400
    We should always remember that 50% of the trustees are management. This is required by the Taft-Hartley Act. This is the same law that was known as the “Slave Labor Act” by many and was passed over a Presidential veto by a bi-partisan vote in Congress. Since it’s passage those that tell us they are our friends have not once made an attempt to repeal Taft-Hartley when their political party had the ability to do so. It’s also important to note that neither political parties had the repeal of Taft-Hartley or labor law reform in their platform.

    This the same law that stripped the most effective tools for organizing from labor. This significantly negatively impacted the Trucking and Construction Unions. The industry is comprised of many “small”, (less than 250 full-time employees in the U.S) and many “owner operators” which are prohibited under Taft-Hartley from organizing, discussing shipping rates, or to work together to improve working conditions due to Taft- Hartley. The Taft-Hartley Act was created to slowly strangle the labor movement and it took away almost every tool which the working class had to improve their condition. Had Taft-Hartley been adopted earlier the Teamsters would never have become the powerhouse it was and is.

    Taft-Hartley is also the law that provides for “right to work” legislation possible. It also appears that those that claim to our friends do not know this. While they will speak to the evils of RTW legislation when they are in front of us asking for donations and votes. The reality is they have failed to change the law that makes RTW possible and restore the National Labor Relations Act as it was intended to be.

    This becomes important if we want to fix multi-employer funds. Part of the solution is organizing more workers who would also participate in the funds increasing employer contributions. Taft-Hartley makes this significantly more difficult and allows the employer to ignore the democratic rights of their employees.

    We all want to see solutions that work. Our pensions, our retirees, and the membership deserve better then this. It is a very tough position to be in for anyone given the fiscal reality. What we don’t need are laws that stand in the way of allowing the American blue collar worker to chart his own corse and improve his lot.
  • Bruce Swearingen
    commented 2016-10-26 15:40:11 -0400
    To answer the need for 37 fund managers question.
    As a fellow TDU member and member of my local #631 described similar fiscal excesses..
  • Billy Mayo
    commented 2016-10-24 14:22:01 -0400
    Why does CSPF need 37 fund managers making 8.8 million dollars a year and the western fund only has 1 and they wonder where all the money is going mabey they should check into this
  • Billy Mayo
    commented 2016-10-24 14:21:59 -0400
    Why does CSPF need 37 fund managers making 8.8 million dollars a year and the western fund only has 1 and they wonder where all the money is going mabey they should check into this
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