March 27, 2008: The third largest pension fund in the Teamsters Union is reportedly planning new benefit cuts.
Employer and union trustees at the New England Pension Fund reportedly disagree about what kinds of cuts are needed and are debating different proposals.
As Convoy Dispatch goes to press, Teamster members in New England have not been informed of these developments by the fund or its union trustees.
In fact a Special Notice about the Pension Protection Act on the fund website says that, “No changes to the Fund...are currently under consideration.”
In 2005, Teamsters in New England were hit with pension changes without any warning—including the establishment of a minimum retirement age of 57. An uproar from angry members convinced the trustees to make small improvements that protected some members’ pensions.
Under the Pension Protection Act, the New England Pension Fund does not need to adopt any funding plan until next year. It may be prudent for the fund to act more quickly.
But don't the more than 75,000 working Teamsters and retirees covered by the fund deserve to be informed about what is happening to their pension fund and their retirement?
The fund could start by posting an accurate Special Notice on its website, sending a mailing out to members and holding pension meetings at Teamster locals covered by the fund where members can hear from the union trustees on the fund.
“Members have the right to know what benefit cuts our Teamster trustees are discussing with the employers,” said Dawn Stanger, a Local 597 Teamster. “If there are problems with the fund, give it to us straight. We shouldn’t be kept in the dark when our retirement is at stake.”