TDU Will Continue to Oppose Benefit Cuts and Fight to Strengthen Teamster Benefits

December 5, 2006: While Hoffa can boast of a 65 percent winning margin overall in the IBT election, he would be well advised to look at the big groups of Teamsters who voted for a change of direction—starting with the with 175,000 Teamsters in the Central States Pension Plan (CSPF).
These voters sent a strong message that we need new pension and benefit policies.

Most Central States participants belong to mixed locals along with the 400,000 other Teamsters in the Central and Southern Regions and the Carolinas so it’s impossible to precisely separate and count their votes. But a review of the results clearly reveals that the locals with a high percentage of Central States Pension Fund members usually went for Leedham.

Some of the locals where Central States Pension Fund Teamsters voted for Leedham include Charlotte, N.C., Atlanta, Houston, Oklahoma City and the state of Tennessee (which voted 63 percent for Leedham overall). Leedham carried St. Louis Joint Council 13 on the strength of his support from CSPF Teamsters. In Ohio, Leedham captured 49 percent of the vote overall and and a clear majority of the CSPF vote.

Across the Midwest the pattern continued, including Des Moines Local 90 and Detroit Local 243. Hopefully the Hoffa leadership will get the message. It is time for change in the Central States, and in the pension policies of the IBT.

  • Teamsters want information: Hoffa hid the crisis at Central States until after members ratified the national contracts. The International Union should stop keeping members in the dark and ask all Teamster pension trustees to make the facts and options available to members before benefit cuts are made.
  • Teamsters want to stand up to the cuts: After employers demanded benefits cuts in the Central States, the Hoffa administration and our union trustees spent three years defending the cuts instead of mounting a fight to protect our pensions. The UPS negotiations are an opportunity to reverse course and unite Teamsters to stand up to our union’s biggest, most profitable employer and say no more cuts.
  • We need to organize new employers into our pension funds: Organizing UPS Freight would bring more than 12,000 new participants into our funds. Elsewhere, we can add tens of thousands more Teamsters into the funds without organizing a single unorganized worker. In the West, New England and upstate New York UPS part-timers are in Teamster plans. But part-timers are excluded from the Central States Pension Plan and other Eastern funds. All UPS part-timers need to be brought into Teamster benefit plans in the new contract.

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