June 8, 2007: As negotiators for UPS and our union square off over the pension issue, members in the Eastern Region’s two largest UPS locals want to know whether early bargaining will deliver a real pension increase—or a freeze that keeps benefits at pre-pension cut levels.
New York Local 804 and New Jersey Local 177 were the first Teamster locals in the nation to win 25-and-out and 30- and-out pensions. UPS management controls all of the employer trustee positions at both of these funds—and has used its authority to push for pension cuts.
UPS trustees pushed through a 30 percent cut in the pension multiplier at Local 804 effective Jan. 1 this year—over the opposition of Local 804’s trustees to the fund. In Local 177, Teamster trustees have blocked UPS’s demands for pension cuts so far, but the issue is in arbitration.
Local 804 members circulated petitions calling on the union to let members know what needs to be won in bargaining in order to reverse the cuts and increase benefits. The International requested this information from all of the benefit funds that cover UPS Teamsters, including Local 804 and Local 177. But this information has never been shared with the members.
“It seems like the plan is to restore what we lost and sell it to us like we gained something,” said Jorge Diaz, a package car driver from Local 804. “But to me, that’s not gaining anything. That’s a pension freeze.”
“We’re not being told anything, In 1997, we knew what the company was proposing and what the union was fighting for. We won higher pensions. We shouldn’t settle for a freeze this time.”