Central States Fund Drops to $11.4 Billion: The Urgent Need for Pension Protection

UPDATED DECEMBER 10,2020: The seven-year campaign for pension protection by Teamsters, retirees and our allies has reached an urgent stage. There is a desperate need for pension relief, either in the stimulus bill being worked up, or in the first 100 days of the Biden presidency.

central_thumb.jpgYou can help, by simply making a phone call or two this week. One click on the link will tell you what to do, and the phone numbers you need to reach Senators Grassley, Mitch McConnell, and your own Congressional Rep and Senators.

The urgency is shown by the fact that the Central States Fund continues to bleed assets, endangering the pensions of 200,000 Teamster families, who earned their pensions with decades of moving America’s freight. Millions of others are in a similar situation.

The Second Quarter Financial Report of the Central States Fund obtained by TDU shows that the net assets fell to $11.4 billion, down by $1.6 billion over the past year.

UPDATE December 10, 2020. TDU has now obtained the Third Quarter Financial Report of the CSPF, and the assets now stand at $10.9 billion, as of September 30. 2020.  The Third Quarter Report of the Independent Special Counsel is also available.

The statistics tell the story. During the first six months of 2020, the Fund took in $296 million in employer contributions and made $248 million on investments, but paid out over $1.4 billion in pensions to retirees and surviving spouses, for a loss of nearly $1 billion in just six months.

The Fund is down to an average of 45,281 active participants; a year ago it was 52,029.

The fund is bleeding at a rate of $2 billion per year, and thus unless pension protection is enacted, retirees will face drastic cuts and for many, an old age of poverty.

Because of the need to protect the remaining assets, the Fund no longer holds stock investments, so has not benefited from the recent run-up in the stock market. The Fund holds bonds, and made 2.15% return in the second quarter, according to the Quarterly Report of the Independent Special Counsel.

The need for legislation to protect earned pensions is urgent. The Heroes Act passed by the House in May contains the pension protection that all retirees need, but it gathers dust on Senator Mitch McConnell’s desk.

The National United Committee to Protect Pensions and union allies see the new Administration and coming Congressional session as an opportunity to get the job done. Click here to do your part.

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