March 15, 2013: Some 50,000 UPS Teamsters stand to draw a pension from the Central States Fund, even though UPS was allowed to pull out of that fund in 2008 and set up their own IBT-UPS Pension Plan, run by the company.
The way it works is that UPS pays the pension until the retiree reaches 65. Then Central States pays its share of the pension (which would be most of it), and UPS makes up the difference with a second pension check, to provide the promised pension benefit.
Will they lose if Central States cuts pensions? The answer is found in Article 34, Section l, paragraph (l)(6) of the national contract: "If the benefit paid from the Central States Plan is reduced as permitted or required by law, the amount of such reduction shall not be included in the offset."
The Hoffa administration says that single sentence protects UPS Teamsters. But experience with contract enforcement at UPS is that ambiguous language often hurts members.
It should be easy to fix this issue in contract bargaining with clear, unambiguous protection for retirees from Central States pension cuts.