Central States Pension Report: 3rd Quarter 2015

The third quarter financial report of the Central States Pension Fund shows assets dropped to $15.9 billion, due in large part to the stock market decline last August. 

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The fund’s financial and analytical report indicates that there were 61,119 active participants as of August 2015, and 205,870 retirees. The number of retirees continues to decline from a peak of 212,000.

The quarterly Independent Special Counsel report states that the fund lost 5.75% on its total portfolio in the quarter, due to the declines in both the stock and bond markets. The fund should have made up some ground in the fourth quarter, when the US stock market gained 7% (based on the S&P 500 index). That year-end financial report is not yet available.

The Independent Special Counsel quarterly report unfortunately reads like a PR piece for Central States management and the IBT. For example, the report on Bill Lichtenwald’s departure from the Board of the Trustees makes zero mention of the Independent Review Board’s devastating report on Lichtenwald’s role in corruption in the Conference of Teamsters, or that the Department of Labor asked for his removal. You are left to believe that Lichtenwald, who was only recently appointed to the Board, simply stepped off for a rest.

The report also whitewashes the “rescue plan” which would result in disastrous pension cuts. Indeed, it goes on about the lucky participants who will not be cut at all – those over 80, those with less than 5 years in the fund (so unvested), and those only eligible for a disability pension.  The report fails to make any mention at all of the huge outpouring of opposition from retirees and Teamsters, as seen by Special Master Ken Feinberg at the town hall meetings he has conducted. 

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