June 20, 2014: The overdue year-end 2013 report on the Central States Pension Fund shows that it grew by $1 billion to $18.7 billion on the rising stock market. However the report stresses the fund trustees’ goal of changing federal law to allow them to cut the pensions of current retirees, and active Teamsters with earned vested pensions.
The Teamster officials who are trustees are at odds with the official position of the International Union, which is to oppose a bill to abolish the “anti-cutback” protections in federal law. The report states that the fund could be unable to make pension payments by 2026, as the justification for their stand.
CSPF Benefits Services Director Al Nelson recently called for 30% across the board cuts in present and future benefits.
Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), along with the Pension Rights Center, the AARP, and several unions are calling for alternative positive action to support pensions, rather than drastic cuts. You can sign the petition to add your support, and you can find out more about this growing movement.
The 2013 report (submitted by the Independent Special Counsel (ISC)) notes that the fund grew by $1 billion in 2013 thanks to outsized stock market returns. The CSPF has 50% of its asset in three different unmanaged index funds, and those did especially well in 2013.
You can also read a copy of the 2013 Financial and Analytical Report on the Central States Pension and H&W Funds.
A disturbing note in the report concerns Allied Systems Holdings’ carhaul operation. Allied went bankrupt in a hedge-fund dispute. Jack Cooper then bought it, and most Allied Teamsters were able to follow their work (and maintain their pension benefits) to Jack Cooper. But the ISC report notes that Jack Cooper will not be assuming the $900 million withdrawal liability owed by Allied to the fund.
The Central States Health and Welfare Fund continues to operate in the black with its reserves topping $2 billion. The fund has 83,102 participants at the end of the year, but that number has now doubled with the addition of so many UPS and UPS Freight Teamsters.