April 30, 2002: The latest wrinkle in the fight to salvage decent pensions from the troubled Central Pennsylvania Pension Fund is a proposed merger with the New York State Fund. This is a position being pushed by the International union and six of the eight local unions involved. The proposal is being resisted by Reading Local 429, the pension fund’s controlling local and Allentown Local 773.
On July 17 the actuaries from the New York State Fund, the Central Pennsylvania Fund and an actuary appointed by the IBT met to discuss the feasibility of such a merger. Audits on both funds have reportedly been completed but the results have yet to be released. Sentiment among the rank and file is running heavily in favor of the merger due to a complete lack of trust in the Central Pennsylvania Fund.
Members Say ‘Do It Right, Not Fast’
The leaderships of the six locals supporting the merger are pushing for a quick completion of the merger. But the leadership of the rank and file Central Pennsylvania Teamster Pension Reform Committee is more concerned with getting it done right than with getting it done fast.
There are many unanswered questions about the merger and the committee wants to get a full and complete understanding of what such a merger would mean and to make sure the numbers add up. They are demanding transparency, accountability and full disclosure before any final decisions are made.
Meanwhile, in an apparent last ditch effort to shore up some support for their keeping control of the fund, the Central Pennsylvania Pension trustees are now offering freight and UPS Teamsters a $3,100 a month benefit for 25 years of service at age 57. Based on their past performance, no one believes anything they have to say anymore.