July 1, 2010: The biggest factor at the present time in the pension divide is the threat to the pensions earned by Teamsters at YRC—our union’s largest employer of freight Teamsters, and the largest contributor to the Central States Fund.
YRC Teamsters have not had pension contributions paid for the past year, due to concessions made in 2009 to help save the company. The wage cut continues until the end of the contract, but the pension contributions snap back to full rate at the end of 2010, according to the concession deal.
YRC and the International Union leadership are discussing a possible successor concession agreement, in which YRC would make pension contributions far less than the $8 per hour that will be approximate full rate after August 1.
A deal like that may be possible, but raises lots of questions. What will it mean for YRC Teamsters’ pensions? Will it lead to concession demands by ABF and hundreds of other contributing employers? How will YRC Teamsters ever get to full union scale?
The root of the problem goes back to the failure of our union leadership to organize in freight and trucking, and to bring UPS Freight into Teamster benefit plans.