Will Central States Kick YRCW Teamsters to the Curb?

March 18, 2011: There are disturbing reports coming out of the Central States Pension Fund regarding the pensions of YRC and Holland Teamsters. Will they be put on the “default schedule,” which would eliminate all adjustable benefits, 25- and 30-and out?

We call on the Fund and the Hoffa administration, who signed and sold the YRC deal, to stand up for the YRC brothers and sisters.

“We were asked to approve this contract seven months ago. We were told it would at least get us some pension benefit back. Why are they waiting all this time to tell us what’s up?” asked Greg Smith, a YRC Teamster in Akron Local 24.

The Central States trustees considered the issue in early March, and will meet again soon. There is still time to do the right thing.

We urge them to take into account the long-term contributions these Teamsters have made to the pension fund and to our union. The Central States Fund covers the majority of YRC Teamsters, so this is a matter for the International Union to take very seriously. Hoffa and Freight Director Tyson Johnson arranged the deal and sold it to the members, so now they take responsibility for the consequences.

Thomas Nyhan, the Director of the Central States Fund, told the Kansas City Business Journal that YRCW Teamsters should hold off from retiring, because “They could retire thinking they’re going to get benefit structure A, and in three weeks, it would be benefit structure B and be substantially below what they think they’re going to get.”

Retiring at this time does not “lock in” pension benefits, because the fund would not only backdate the “default schedule” but they can go back one year earlier than that date to impose the cuts, impacting many Teamsters already retired. According to Nyhan, the fund is considering making September 2010 (when the Memorandum of Understanding was agreed to) the date YRC will be considered on the default schedule, so the impact could reach back into 2009.

Two weeks ago, Central States changed their website to calculate YRC Teamsters’ pensions differently. They now reflect the (lower) contribution-based benefit.

If our YRC brothers and sisters are put on the “default schedule” due to the lower level of contributions negotiated by the International Union, it could lead to drastic pension cuts for most YRCW Teamsters. These Teamsters have done all they can to save the union carrier, and all that the Hoffa administration has asked them to do.

Reportedly the Central States will consider some “grandfather” protection for YRC Teamsters near to retirement age, such as those with 25 years and age 55. That’s a start, but still leaves out a lot of Teamsters.

The Central States Fund’s details on the default schedule is available here.

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