December 5, 2006: Just two months into early negotiations with UPS to protect Teamster benefits, the company has cut the pensions of thousands of UPS Teamsters in New York City. Local 804 members will be hit with a 30 percent cut in their pension accrual effective Jan. 1.
The cuts send a clear signal that UPS management is continuing its offensive against Teamster benefits.The largest UPS local in the East, Local 804, was the first Teamster local to win 25-and-out benefits. UPS management knew what it was doing when it targeted Local 804 for a pension cut just as early bargaining is getting underway.
Reportedly, the Local 804 pension fund will have a shortfall in its credit balance (a technical measure of the fund’s strength) sometime next year without either a cut in the accrual rate or higher employer contributions. The Teamsters and UPS are at the table right now, supposedly to negotiate increases in company contributions and restore Teamster pensions to top levels.
In connection with those talks, management reportedly complained to the Hoffa administration that Local 804 was opposing the company’s pension cut proposal.
Hoffa could have told the company to drop the pension cut demand and let negotiations about proposals to strengthen Teamster benefits take their course. Hoffa could have threatened to cancel early talks if the company insisted on these cuts.
He could have at least warned Local 804 Teamsters about the threat. He didn’t even do that.
UPS management imposed the pension cut by securing the vote of the union trustee from the separate union that represents the mechanics.
Local 804 President and fund trustee Howie Redmond voted against the cuts, but has come under fire in the local for his pass-the-buck approach.
Redmond is a Hoffa ally and a member of the National Bargaining Committee. If Hoffa will not stand up for Teamster pensions in a key local, led by an ally, at the outset of early bargaining to protect Teamster benefits, then when will he take a stand?
UPS Teamsters who care about the future of our pension and health benefits need to get united, informed and organized. TDU is forming a UPS Pension Protection and Contract Mobilization Network.
Interested? Contact the TDU office.