March 11, 2011: The Central States Pension Fund’s Financial and Analytical Report for 2010 reveals that the fund is in just about the same shape as a year ago, with assets of $19.9 billion.
This is slightly higher, by about $300 million, than a year ago, thanks to the big run-up in the stock market. Central States made 14.4 percent on its investments in 2010, with a whopping 71 percent of assets in stocks.
The $2.5 billion made on investments more than offsets a $2.2 billion loss on operations. The big loss on operations results from a very low base of employer contributions, just $628 million in 2010. This weak position of employer contributions comes from the disastrous decision to allow UPS, by far the biggest employer, to exit the fund in January 2008. It also results from the fact that YRCW, the next biggest employer, is not contributing to the fund at this time.
The fund has 58,652 active participants, less than half what it would have if UPS and YRC were both contributing to the fund. There are 214,429 retirees.
The fund’s “rehabilitation plan” includes requiring unions to bargain with employers to increase contributions by eight percent per year. However, the fund has now capped the required contribution rate at the freight and carhaul levels, so no new contribution hikes are required for employers in that top category.
The big change in the plan this year is a rule, effective July 1, 2011, that no one can start drawing a pension under age 57.
The question hanging over the heads of YRC Teamsters is what will the fund do when YRC is required to start making partial pension contributions on June 1. The Central States Fund and other Teamster funds are delaying providing members with information on this critical issue.
The Financial and Analytical Report, obtained by Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), is available here.