IBT-UPS Pension Plan Keeps You in the Dark

March 8, 2010: Have you ever tried to get information from the new “IBT-UPS Pension Plan” that covers all full time UPS Teamsters in the Central and Southern Regions and the Carolinas?

If not, consider yourself lucky, because it’s not easy.

Members with questions for the IBT-UPS Pension Plan are meeting an information Brownout. Consider these Teamsters:

  • A part-timer with three years of service in Columbus, Ohio Local 413 who plans to go full-time wrote a letter to Atlanta asking if there was a reciprocal agreement between the UPS Part-Time Plan and the new full-timer plan. He got a one-page, unsigned letter that didn’t answer the question. The fund also stapled a sheet to their non-answer suggesting that he should inquire again after he has “22 years of vesting.”
  • A 30-year Teamster in Iowa wrote to the IBT-UPS fund and asked what the impact on his pension would be if he were elected or appointed to a full-time position as a Teamster officer. He also got a one page, unsigned letter that didn’t answer the question.

Maybe either one of these Teamsters could go to the IBT-UPS plan’s website to get the information. But there isn’t one.

A pension plan covering 44,000 Teamsters has no website and a no-name staff. The address is simply UPS corporation headquarters.

Some Teamsters report that they get a friendly voice by calling the UPS pension number (800-643-4442), but they are just sent a form to fill out to request what benefits they have earned.

Would you believe this is supposedly a Teamster plan, with four Teamster trustees, as well as four management?

Of course none of those four Teamster trustees are actually in this plan. They are covered by multiple, lucrative pensions. Two of them—Ken Hall and Ken Wood—are in the $200,000 Club.

No Reciprocity?

Members are raising critical questions and they have the right to know the answers.

Consider the question about whether there is a reciprocal agreement between UPS’s own two plans, for part-timers and full-timers. Perhaps UPS refuses to answer because the answer is NO.

In that case, every part-timer who goes full-time in the future would start over from scratch, without being able to combine part-time and full-time years to achieve 30-and-out. Combining part-time and full-time years to get to 30 years was the norm prior to this new plan in 2008.

Have Hoffa and Hall given this right away? Do our union trustees plan to get this fixed?

Consider the Kentucky Teamster who wrote to the plan, with 25 full-time years, most of them in the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Plan, and now in the IBT-UPS plan.

Guess what? His 20-plus years in the Western Teamster plan count for nothing but his vested rights, so he will get half a pension at best.

Are the Teamster trustees planning to fix that?

Can UPSers Run for Union Office?

Consider the question of becoming a union representative. Most Teamsters will never become a business rep or union president, but having qualified UPS Teamsters able to take those positions is mighty important to UPS Teamsters and our union.

The IBT-UPS plan’s anonymous management staffer refused to answer that question, because if you take a union rep job, you leave the IBT-UPS plan! You return to the Central States Plan, apparently to start over again.

Why can’t a Teamster who becomes a union rep stay in the plan? Is this a deal to keep UPS Teamsters from running for office? Maybe our Teamster trustees will explain it to us.

How Much Does the Plan Cost?

Here’s another question Teamster trustees might want to tell the rank and file. How much does this plan cost UPS?

Right now, the only information on this comes to local unions who have to pick up pension fund contributions when one of their members takes a temporary union position, such as working on an organizing drive.

When that happens, local unions pay the UPS plan $25 per day in pension contributions.

Why only $25 ($3.12 per hour)? Is that all this IBT-UPS pension plan costs?

That would help explain why UPS was in such a hurry to get out of Central States and into a company plan. UPS contributes more than $7 an hour to Teamster funds—the exact amount varies depending on the plan. If UPS is saving hundreds of millions per year, that is important information.

Teamster members are entitled to answers. And we’re entitled to get what Hoffa and Ken Hall promised: a fair pension plan.

You can bet that Teamsters for a Democratic Union will work with Teamster members to make it happen.

Answer Our Questions

“Members have questions for the UPS Teamster Pension that go beyond our benefit numbers. We need to know that somebody’s minding the store and knows what’s going on when it comes to Teamster questions and concerns.

“The Teamster side trustees—Ken Hall, Ken Wood, Dave Robinson and Mike Stapleton—need to make sure that while UPS runs the operation, it’s as open and accessible on information as it can be.”

Michael Savwoir, UPS, Local 41, Kansas City


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