Proposed Rules for Pension Cuts: Vote by Phone Call!

The Treasury Department’s Temporary Regulations would let the Central States Pension Fund (and others) conduct the vote of Teamsters and retirees on proposed pension cuts by telephone poll!


Why would it be allowed for one of the most important votes you would ever make—on a drastic cut to your pension benefits? 

Dennis Germain, a retiree from Detroit Local 299 with the Michigan Committee to Protest Pensions, summed it up: “Now Hoffa’s trustees want us to email or phone our vote pertaining to the cut on our pension. It’s bad enough they want to cut our pensions by $10,000 per year forever, but now they are too cheap to send us a paper ballot. This is another way to keep members from voting. I’m surprised they didn't call for a raise of hands.”

On September 10, at a hearing in Washington DC, Teamsters will speak out against this proposed denial of basic voting rights.

Would anyone tolerate voting for Congress by internet voting or telephone poll, instead of a ballot?

Under federal law—The Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act—Teamster local unions conduct elections every three years by secret ballot. A ballot comes to you in the mail, and you return it by mail, postage paid.

Next year, 1.3 million Teamsters will get a ballot mailed to them by the Election Supervisor for IBT president and officers. And they can return their ballot by mail, postage paid. Central States has a vastly larger budget than the Teamsters Union.

Central States cannot afford the postage for return ballots, but can pay Thomas Nyhan $662,000 per year, and numerous other execs fat salaries? That’s what the temporary regulation actually claims:  “Voting by marking and mailing back paper ballots would also entail significant additional costs to process (such as employing additional personnel for processing and providing return postage and envelopes).”  

Maybe Nyhan could take a 20% cut for one year: That would cover the 48c postage for 276,000 ballots! Or the employer and union trustees could forego their expense payments for one year? That would do it.

Central States spends $38 million per year in administrative expenses. A fair vote would not increase this figure by even 1% for one year!

This regulation is outrageous and must be changed. But it is worse than that. It shows the thinking behind this outrageous pension-cut law. Slash earned pensions. And conduct a bogus “vote” to justify it.

We support and will fight for the Keep Our Pension Promises Act and will demand that the Hoffa administration and the Central States Fund delay the cuts and get behind a positive alternative to save Teamster pensions.

Showing 10 reactions

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  • Stephanie McAllister
    followed this page 2016-10-20 13:47:52 -0400
  • Barry E Nesbitt
    commented 2015-09-11 20:05:59 -0400
    Wish you could have been in Washington DC September 10 – for the hearings on our pension cuts. One brother was speaking and at the end of his speech he addressed the 4 Central States Executives in their $700 + suits.
    " I heard you suits snickering as each speaker told of the hardship they would face if their pensions were cut, you suits come down on this stage and I’ll drop my pants so all of you can Kiss My Ass!!!" He got a standing ovation.

    One the pitiful side was the amount of members present. Their were 290 to 300 Retirees, some were at the hearings, while others were at the Hoffa and Senator Sanders Press Conference, and others were speaking to their representatives and Senators.

    Where were the rest of you?? 300 Brothers & Sisters want be enough to change anyone’s mind in Congress or at Central States. Even the Treasury Dept said we should have 3,000 or more in attendance. Keep thinking you want make a difference and you want.


    Our trip from Charlotte to Greensboro to Washington cost $3,500 for the bus – or $75 per person for the ride up and back. NC had 50 members on the bus, a few rode Amtrac, 2 car loads drove. Nebraska had 10 members that flew in. Ohio had 3 bus loads – Wisconsin – I am not sure of the exact head count but was a large crowd.

    Where were the rest of you. We need more support, we need thousands, not just hundreds. It’s your pension also and we can make a difference if we stand together like a brotherhood should.

    Those of us that went had a great experience, hope to see you there next time.

    Barry Nesbitt
    Roadway/YRC Retired
    Charlotte, NC
  • Dan Rausch
    commented 2015-09-04 18:38:37 -0400
    Does anyone actually know how much of a cut we will be asked to take? I worked for UPS and I thought the so called buy out would cover us forever.
  • Michael Savwoir
    commented 2015-09-04 15:21:27 -0400
    If anyone can possibly think that IBT officials, Hoffa controlled locals, or their affiliated retire clubs could support the best interest of retires or members, they are a part of the problem. It is high time that we all join the fight to save our pensions. For even if you are not effected now, I can assure you that you soon will be!
  • Connie N Ronnie
    commented 2015-09-03 23:06:45 -0400
    Where did the $10,000 per year figure come from? We haven’t received any information on the amount to be cut.

    “Dennis Germain, a retiree from Detroit Local 299 with the Michigan Committee to Protest Pensions, summed it up: “Now Hoffa’s trustees want us to email or phone our vote pertaining to the cut on our pension. It’s bad enough they want to cut our pensions by $10,000 per year forever, but now they are too cheap to send us a paper ballot.”
  • Mike Webb
    commented 2015-09-03 16:31:49 -0400
    We already knew the opinion of Retirees would be “taken into consideration”. We already knew the votes cast by the Retirees would “not be binding”. Now, with this “phone it in” decision we know the Retirees’ vote is “worthless”!
  • Janice McCann
    commented 2015-09-03 09:10:36 -0400
    The reason the unions have come to this is the lack of action by the people paying dues. They think that’s good enough. Well, it isn’t, you need to recognize you’re at war and start acting accordingly. The first thing needed is, get rid of all union heads representing their own pocket books, toss their asses out. The next thing is, call for a general strike, your power lies in shutting everything down. In the old days the unions had to battle scabs, now, it seems, they have to fight their own union presidents.
  • William Stevens
    commented 2015-09-03 03:11:21 -0400
    What a shame that our high and mighty Teamsters president Hoffa can’t, or want, step in and ask some of his friends in the senate and house to legislate something to help the multi-employer pension problems. After all his office is just across the street from the US Capitol. This guy should have been voted out many years ago. Had all the teamsters, mostly in the NE, not believed all his empty promises all these years, and continued to reelect him, maybe we would have had respectable leadership who would have stood up for the common teamster and not just his hoodlum friends. Another concern that I have is that I have heard that UPS is going to makeup for any losses to the pensions of any employee who was employed at UPS at the time they pulled out of the Central States pension plan. After 26 years of dedicated service to UPS they are just going to let me, and others, lose a good portion of our retirement just because we retired prior to them getting out of the Central States pension plan. Had they not pulled out then there probably would not be such a shortage of funds to warrant these proposed pension cuts. If these cuts are as deep as I fear then I will either lose my home or be forced into bankruptcy. This is not what I was promised for a retirement. No matter what the outcome I just hope all the voting Teamsters vote all the current do nothing bums, in the Teamster leadership positions, out of office.
  • Lowell Weber
    followed this page 2015-09-02 21:07:22 -0400
  • Dave Robbins
    commented 2015-09-02 19:36:02 -0400
    God damn! Vote by telephone? Email? Sounds like the vote for the MLB All Star Teams. This is making a mockery of the democratic process. Will we see any outrage by our Union Trustees on the CSPF? By Hoffa and the IBT General Executive Board? Fuck this shit! We want the pension benefits we fought for and earned with our labor!
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