Chicago Teamsters Fight for Retirees

January 30, 2009: Chicago Local 705 UPS retirees are mad as hell, and they’re doing something about it.

They’re mad because UPS management suddenly raised their monthly health and welfare contribution from $50 to $157.58 for a single retiree and $315.17 for a retiree and spouse.

Today Local 705 and two retirees filed a class action suit in federal court against UPS, and reportedly they are considering other actions as well. (A copy of the complaint is available, and may be accessed below.) UPS retirees received a letter this week from Local 705 secretary treasurer Steve Pocztowski, who states in it that UPS “claims to be a people-oriented company but has decided to do the unthinkable, raise your monthly insurance premiums.”

Retirees say this big premium hike was unexpected, because the Local 705 contract with UPS states that “if required, additional contributions would not be implemented until after the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement.” The agreement runs until 2013. That’s a good contract clause, especially in this era of long Teamster contracts.

Iggy Green, a retiree and plaintiff in the lawsuit stated, “It’s shameful. UPS didn’t raise the issue during contract negotiations and then sent a letter raising the rates. That’s just not right. They need to live by the contract. I’m working with Local 705 to make sure this gets fixed.”

Teamster retirees in many areas of the country have seen their retirement benefits limited and their health premiums raised. Maybe UPS management felt the Local 705 Teamsters would take it lying down, or would abandoned their retired brothers and sisters. If so, they were wrong.

Every Teamster struggle to protect pensions and affordable health care is important for all Teamsters. We should all stand with the Chicago UPS retirees in their fight.

Click here for a copy of Local 705’s letter to retirees

Click here for a copy of the complaint in the lawsuit Green v UPS Health and Welfare.

What do you think? Click here to send a question or comment to Teamsters for a Democratic Union.

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