August 5, 2008: Months after New York UPSers approved new bylaws for their local, members are still having trouble getting straight information about their benefits.
This spring, UPS Teamsters in New York Local 804 voted by over 90 percent to require the Local 804 Executive Board to provide members with information about their pension and health funds.
In July, the Local 804 Pension Fund finally responded to members’ requests for pension documents—and turned over some information, including reports from various investment managers.
But the fund continues to violate federal law by refusing to turn over the most important documents that members requested—including the Actuarial Valuation Report and other actuarial reports, despite a specific request for this information from members’ legal counsel.
Members are legally entitled to these documents. Every other major Teamster fund has provided this information to members within 30 days or less—sometimes without charge.
In contrast, the Local 804 Pension Fund not only refused to turn over documents, it even charged members for documents it refused to provide. Local 804 shop steward Tim Sylvester was billed more than $125 for pension documents—but more than 25 percent of these documents were missing!
Sylvester and other leaders of Local 804 Members United are following up with the fund through their legal counsel, attorney Ann Curry Thompson.
Concern Over Health Benefits
Local 804 members are also still looking for straight answers about the Local 804 Health Fund and the future of members’ health benefits and retiree healthcare.
An investigation by Local 804 Members United revealed that the Health Fund lost $18 million over four years—according to the fund’s own financial reports.
Their investigation also revealed that Local 804 officials voted to reduce UPS’s contributions to the Health Fund and divert the money to the Pension Fund—a move that accelerated the Health Fund’s multi-million dollar losses.
Local 804 officials have responded by telling members that the Fund did not “lose” $18 million; it just “spent” $18 million more than it took in! Accountants call that losing money—and so do the fund’s own financial reports.
Local 804 members deserve more than word games—especially when their health benefits and retiree healthcare are at stake.
No one has suggested that the fund’s money mysteriously disappeared! Leaflets can be downloaded at www.804membersunited.org that explain how the fund’s losses occurred.
What Local 804 members want to know is whether the money that was negotiated under the new UPS contract will be enough to rebuild the Health Fund’s depleted reserves and maintain current health benefits without cuts, increased co-pays or hikes in the cost of retiree healthcare.
Local 804 and UPS promised members in a signed a memorandum of agreement that 70¢ out of the $1.00 negotiated for benefits in the first year of the contract will go to the pension fund.
That leaves only 30¢ for the Health Fund, not much money to cover protect the benefits of members and retirees and rebuild the fund’s reserves.