The Future of Teamster Pensions

September 5, 2008: Teamster pensions are under attack. But members are coming together to protect their retirement.

These are tough times for many Teamster pension funds—and the members who rely on them for a secure retirement:

  • Last month, TDU uncovered that the Central States Pension Fund lost over $3 billion in assets in the first six months of 2008. That’s half the payout UPS made to leave the fund last December.
  • Teamster plans are struggling to deal with the new funding requirements of the Pension Protection Act—and in some areas cutting benefits.
  • A study of major Teamster pension plans by TDU revealed a growing “Pension Divide”—with the new UPS Pension Plan paying the worst benefits in the country.

The Pension Divide will grow wider over the life of the new master contracts. By the end of the new UPS agreement contract in 2013, tens of thousands of Teamsters in the Western Region will retire with a $5,000 pension, with less than 30 years service. So will UPS Teamsters in Washington, D.C. In some other areas UPS Teamsters will retire with $4,000 for 30-and-out.

The new UPS plan will pay just $3,000 for 30 years service. No other plan for UPS Teamsters is worse. Read TDU’s study on the Pension Divide.

The Attack on Our Pensions

These problems aren’t isolated. Corporate America is going after multi-employer pension plans—and Teamster employers like UPS are leading the way.

Multi-employer pension plans give members a strong reason to care about the union.

Corporate America is hoping to make our unions weaker by weakening Teamster pension plans.

What Members Are Doing

Across the country, Teamsters are uniting to protect our benefits.

In Milwaukee, Waste Management is trying to pull out of Central States. WM management sent in their union-busting “green team” to try to break a strike. But Local 200 Teamsters are standing together on the picket line to protect their benefits.

In Baltimore, over 500 members have signed a petition for a Pension Bill of Rights to protect their right to know what’s going on with their pension—and to have a say when changes are needed.

In New York, Local 804 members were blindsided when their pensions were cut. Last year, members came together, voted down their tentative agreement with UPS by three-to-one, restored their pension benefits, and saved 25-and-out benefits for new employees.

These Teamsters show that we can resist Corporate America’s attack on our pensions when we stand together and are united.

What You Can Do

Defending our pensions is a job for our whole union—and you can help.

Get the facts on your plan. TDU and the Pension Rights Center won language in the Pension Protection Act that gives you new rights to get plan documents and actuary reports from your pension plan.

Contact TDU to see if members have already obtained the documents for your plan, or to get a sample letter you can send to your fund.

Keep other members informed. It’s harder for management to play games with our retirement when members are watching. You can help keep members informed by distributing TDU’s newspaper Convoy or by holding a pension information meeting in your area.

Click here to order a bundle of Convoy. Contact TDU for advice on setting up a pension meeting in your area.

Come to the TDU Convention. The TDU Convention brings together Teamster members from across the country to look at the hard questions facing our union.

This year we’ll have a special workshop on The Future of Teamster Pensions with attorney Ann Curry Thompson and Teamster members who are uniting to protect their benefits.

Click here to register for the TDU Convention.


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