UPS Split From Central States Would Weaken Union, Experts Say

August 20, 2007: Industry experts say that pension assets are up, but our union’s power will be down if UPS is allowed to break out of Central States.

Industry experts report in this month’s Traffic World that the assets of the Central States Pension Plan are on the rise. They warn that the Teamsters Union will lose long-term power in dealing with employers if we UPS split from the fund.

Traffic World is a leading industry publication read by shippers and investors. Its latest report on UPS negotiations concludes that:

"It is the Teamsters’ pension—and particularly the multiemployer plan—that gives the union much of its draw and power…Wages at nonunion competitors are comparable. It’s the promise of long-term security that will get and keep union members." (Traffic World, 8/17/2007)

The stakes couldn’t be higher as our union bargains with UPS over the future of our pensions.

The good news is that Central States assets are on the rise according to the report.

  • "The Central States Pension Plan shows significant increase in assets" with an estimated "$700 million increase in assets through the first six months of the year."
  • "Central States’ total assets—about $21.4 billion—would represent a significant increase over the $18.7 billion reported by the fund in 2005…The total could tally $22 billion by the year’s end."
  • "The ratio of active Teamsters to retirees has almost stabilized. There are 212,000 retirees and 146,000 active (full-time) Teamsters."

These figures, all of which come from the June Central States Funds Financial and Analytical Information report, have pension experts optimistic.

"They’re working their way back," says pension expert Michael Cagnina, who manages $199 billion in pension assets for nearly 500 clients.

Industry observers say that a withdrawal by UPS from Central States would undermine our union’s power and appeal to nonunion workers—and pension analysts agree. “It would take away from the union’s voice—the workers’ voice,” Cagnina says.

Click here to read the entire report from Traffic World.

Click here to see the fund’s latest Financial and Analytical Report. Note that this report is only available because TDU members went to court and forced the fund to reveal this information, which TDU makes available to participants.

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