Teamster members at Central States are back to work after a two-day strike. The contract dispute showed the best and worst of our union.Read more
Update: Teamster employees who work for TeamCare and the Central States Pension Fund have gone on strike after rejecting a proposed contract for the fifth time. Five rejections! The vote was 180-171.Read more
The 400 Teamster employees of Teamcare and the Central States Pension Fund are fighting concessionary demands from our union health and pension fund.Read more
May 20, 2015: Sometime this summer nearly 400,000 Teamsters and retirees will be mailed a ballot, asking them to approve cutting their own pension.
That vote is our voice. Use it to Vote No to demand improvements in the Central States pension cut plan.
May 20, 2015: Nearly 400,000 Teamsters and retirees are threatened with pension cuts. How Hoffa helped put the hit on their retirement.
Nearly 400,000 Teamsters and retirees in the Central States Pension Plan are threatened with the worst pension cuts in Teamster history. So are thousands more in some local plans in New York, New Jersey and Western Pennsylvania.
- Sign the Petition to demand an independent audit of the Central States Fund. Teamsters deserve an independent audit and review of alternative plans before the Central States cuts are imposed.
- Support upcoming Congressional legislation that offers alternatives for strengthening pension funds that go beyond slashing the pensions we earned.
- Build the Movement to Vote No & Reject the Pension Cuts. Help mobilize Teamsters and retirees to Vote No to reject the cuts in the Central States balloting this fall.
- Make your voice heard. Contact TDU to find out how you can help get information to retirees and working Teamsters in your area.
May 20, 2015: Hoffa’s newest International Trustee hires a boss to help run the Teamsters’ biggest local.
Local 237 represents over 10,000 Teamsters at the New York City Housing Authority. So why would the local hire a NYCHA boss to a union post?
May 15, 2015: Seven Senators have written to Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew calling on him to vigorously enforce retiree and worker rights before any pensions are cut under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act passed last December.
US Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) issued a statement and the letter today calling for guidelines to prevent a rush to pension cuts. The Central States Pension Fund is moving quickly to try to implement cuts, without careful oversight or any independent actuarial audit.
The letter, signed by seven members of the Senate Subcommittee on Social Security, Pension and Family Policy, notes that 60 days is a short time for a “retiree representative” required by the law to adequately perform a genuine independent review. The Senators also call on Treasury to require the pension plan to disclose how they chose the retiree representative.
The Central States Fund has chosen Sue Mauren as the retiree representative. They defend this choice with the claim that Mauren is facing the same cuts as other retired Teamsters. But this evades the fact that she was entitled to a total of four pensions or dues-funded lump-sum retirement plans. Mauren has declined to meet with any retiree committee working to prevent cuts, and has even failed to respond to correspondence, so it is not clear how she “represents” retirees.
The Senators’ letter calls for the Treasury Dept to require an “unbiased” report to all members, detailing the impact on their individual pension. The Senators also call for a fair balloting procedure, so that Teamsters and retirees can make an informed vote; the vote in Central States of all actives and retirees is expected sometime this summer.
The Senators requested the Treasury Dept. prohibit one kind of cut that Central States is planning. They state that the pension of disabled participants should never be cut, even if they are receiving a full pension because they reached normal retirement age. The Teamster officials and employer rep trustees of Central States intend to cut those pensions.
We thank Senator Brown – who opposed the pension cut law – and the other Senators for watchdogging the process. And we call upon them to take the important next step: co-sponsor and support legislation to repeal the cut-back provisions and provide for positive alternatives to protect pensions.
May 15, 2015: The 2014 financial report on the Central States Pension Fund shows that the fund’s money manager – Northern Trust -- performed rather poorly last year, causing the fund to get a sub-par return of 6.86% on investments. The fund’s assets declined to $17.9 billion.
Despite losses in 2014, the fund still has net growth over the past six years, since the end of 2008 when the fund had $17.3 billion in assets. It was during the 2008 financial meltdown, caused in large part by Goldman Sachs, that the fund lost $9.5 billion. Goldman Sachs was managing most of the Central States assets at that time.
The Hidden Truth
The 2014 Special Counsel Report details at length many of the fund’s problems and its policies, but in 24 pages it fails to mention one word about the biggest disaster inflicted on the fund: the Hoffa-Hall deal to let UPS pull out of the fund.
These simple facts illustrate the magnitude of that disaster: The financial and analytical report on page 3 projects employer contributions of $635 million for 2015. But if UPS were still contributing to the fund, it would contribute an additional $800 million, more than doubling the income! (This assumes that UPS would be contributing at the same rate as ABF, $342 per week. $342 x 52 x 45,000 = $800.3 million.)
This single disaster, costing the fund $800 million per year over shadows any other problem the fund has experienced.
Unfortunately, the Hoffa-Hall administration is continuing to undermine the fund. The report details on page 20 the attempt by the Kroger Co and the IBT let Kroger pull-out of the Fund without even paying the withdrawal liability, and the fund’s refusal to accept this sell-out deal.
The 2014 financial report was yesterday turned over to the attorney for TDU members who previously sued the fund to make information available to members.
Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee asked Treasury Department officials to tread carefully as they develop the process for implementing multiemployer pension reforms enabling some plans to cut benefits.
“These reforms are unprecedented and, therefore, we ask the Treasury Department to take its role in overseeing the benefit suspension provisions very seriously. In particular, it is critical that you ensure that participants’ and retirees’ rights are protected,” Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown, Ohio; Ron Wyden, Ore.; Debbie Stabenow, Mich.; Bill Nelson, Fla.; Robert Menendez, N.J.; Ben Cardin, Md.; and Robert Casey, Pa., said in a letter sent Thursday to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.
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