June 28, 2012: The Central States Pension Fund's 2011 Financial and Analytical Reports show that the fund was down to $17.7 billion at the end of 2011.
Fund assets dipped from $19.9 billion at the start of 2011, to $17.7 at the end of the year. The fund made zero on investments during the year; in fact there was a loss of .28%, attributed to poor stock market performance.
The reports—which were received by Teamsters for a Democratic Union in early June—also reveal in more detail decisions regarding YRC Teamsters, and a new rule on withdrawal liability.
The fund is in serious condition and could possibly be insolvent within a decade. The International Union—in alliance with other unions and allies such as the AARP—needs to launch a grassroots movement aimed at strengthening the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) to protect all workers' pensions, such as the bill introduced by Senator Robert Casey (D-Pa) two years ago. Behind the scenes lobbying isn't working. Teamsters and retirees are ready to join in to defend our pensions.
The Hoffa administration, after opening the door with the UPS pull-out, has not made stopping further withdrawals from the fund a priority.
YRC on "Distressed Employer Schedule"
The report details that in 2011 the Trustees of the fund decided to accept the low contribution rate of about $1.75 per hour from YRC. However, approximately 12,000 participants employed by Holland and YRC were put on a "distressed employer schedule" which basically eliminated all early retirement options, with the remaining benefit being the accrued benefit at age 65, or sharply reduced for earlier retirement.
The fund had 67,815 active participants as of November 2011, and 213,647 retirees.
The fund is heavily dependent on investment success. In fact, to maintain its present level of assets, it has to make 12% on investments this year. This is well above any reasonable projection.
TDU members won the right to obtain quarterly reports in federal court. These 2011 reports were delayed due to the fact that the previous Special Counsel passed away in January. The new Special Counsel is retired federal judge David Coar.
A longer version of this article and the full financial reports are available here.