January 30, 2015: TDU's Pension Justice Campaign is on the move. Our voices are getting into the media and Teamster members and retirees are organizing to fight cuts and protect our pensions.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution featured leaders of the Local 728 Retirees Club who are fighting the pension cuts.
“We worked all our lives to earn a decent pension,” said Waymon Stroud, 61, who retired four years ago from Yellow Freight and is now president of the retirees club at Teamsters Local 728 in Atlanta. If his $2,800-a-month benefit got cut 30 percent, he added, “I’d have to go back to work.”
The article also exposed the big Brown corporate loophole that will save UPS $2 billion on the back of Teamster retirees.
A report in the Washington Post lists the Teamster and other union funds that are eligible to cut retiree benefits under the new law.
Teamster members and retirees are coming together to make our voices heard.
TDU pension activists spoke at a recent Memphis Local 667 retirees meeting attended by over 100 Teamsters. Others hosted a meeting in Milwaukee that formed the Wisconsin Committee to Protect Pensions. The Wisconsin committee is planning a larger meeting for February. In Ohio, Mike Walden—chair of the Northeast Ohio Committee to Protect Pensions will speak in March with other pension activists at retiree meetings in Columbus and Cincinnati. Plans are percolating for other meetings across the South and Midwest and beyond.
We are reaching out to allies, like the Pension Rights Center, AARP, sympathetic political leaders, and other unions. But to build a strong coalition to protect our pensions, we need to bring concerned Teamsters to the table.
That means reaching out to members and retirees in our areas. Contact TDU if you’re interested in helping organize a pension meeting in your area. We can help, including with guest speakers who can help explain pension issues and what’s next for the pension protection campaign.
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If you weren’t paying close attention to happenings in our nation’s capital around the holiday season - and who could blame you - this might have slipped your notice: Important pension reforms were signed into law that will have dramatic impact on retirement for 10 million Americans.
Buried deep in the $1.1 trillion "Cromnibus" spending bill signed last month by President Obama, the reforms aim to head off a looming implosion of multiemployer pension plans - traditional defined benefit plans jointly funded by groups of employers. The eye-opener is that the reforms mean possible cuts in benefits for people who are already retired - a rare move in retirement policy.
Click here to read more at Wealth Management.
"I hauled cars out of Selkirk, New York for 31 years. I worked for a number of different companies – Automobile Transport, Nu-Car Carriers, Anchor Motor Freight, M&G Convoy, Leaseway, Ryder and finally, Allied. I retired in 2002.
I worked extremely hard in 35 below zero weather and 110 degrees in the shade. I went through lay offs, mergers, loss of seniority, company closings and now they want to cut my pension. That just isn’t right.
Welcome to the new U.S.A. It’s time to fight back."
January 13, 2015: The Central States Health and Welfare Fund (TeamCare) is flush with money, as Hoffa and Hall make excuses for benefit cuts that UPS Teamsters and retirees have suffered.
The latest (2nd quarter 2014) TeamCare Financial and Analytical Report shows that its reserves continued to grow at an annual rate of $326 million per year during the first half of 2014.
The report notes that UPS paid a lump sum of $1.713 billion to cover the future benefits of retirees. With that payment, UPS dumped its obligation to retirees onto Central States.
As a result of a contract concession, UPS retirees in the fund will pay higher monthly premiums for health care.
In addition to that $1.7 billion, the fund has an additional $2.2 billion in reserves, which increased by $163 million during the first half of 2014.
On March 1, 2014, some 10,000 UPS Freight Teamsters joined the fund, and some 72,000 UPS package Teamsters did so on June 1, 2014. About 9,000 Local 705 Teamsters will join TeamCare on February 1, and about 6,000 Local 710 Teamsters are expected to join soon after.
Because the report only covers until June 30, 2014, the impact of some 100,000 new participants is not detailed in the report. The third quarter report – expected soon – may be more informative.
Note: The report was submitted by the Independent Special Counsel on December 3, but the Central States Fund delayed providing it until January 12. They are bound by a court order which we won to provide the quarterly financial reports to the attorney for retirees who sued the fund.
Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) is the only source which makes these financial reports available to members.
January 13, 2015: A review of the 2nd quarter 2014 financial report of the Central States Pension Fund shows that the fund had $18.7 billion as of July 1, 2014.
The fund made big investment returns in the first six months of last year, netting slightly over $1 billion, as the stock market moved up. This allowed the fund to tread water: the $1 billion was just enough, along with $400 million in employer contributions and withdrawal payments, to cover $1.4 billion in benefits. The information is detailed in the quarterly Financial and Analytical Report and the Independent Special Counsel Report.
The number of working Teamster participants declined to 60,000, reflecting the Hoffa administration’s lack of commitment to defend the fund. The number of retirees was 209,000, slightly down.
The average pension paid to retirees and surviving spouses is $1,123 per month.
Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) is working to fight any pension cuts and build a movement for pension justice. Click here to find out how you can be a part of it.
Note: The report is dated December 3, 2014 but the Central States Fund delayed providing it until January 12. They are bound by a court order which we won to provide the quarterly financial reports to the attorney for retirees who sued the fund.
TDU is the only source which makes these financial reports available to members and retirees. We expect the third quarter report to issue soon.
January 9, 2015: Teamsters and retirees from across the Central States Fund and other pension funds are organizing to protect our pensions. Central States was built with pension contributions earned by our blood and sweat.
January 8, 2015: Congress approved pension cut legislation in a sneak attack amendment to the budget bill.
“Congress passed this bill but that doesn’t mean the fight is over. We’ve put Teamster pressure on the Central States in the past and we can do it again. It’s up to us to organize a political push back, too. Stopping this attack on our retirement security means getting involved NOW!”
“For the past year, we heard nothing from Hoffa and the IBT as the lobbyists, including Tom Nyhan from Central States, weaseled their way through Congress pushing for changes to allow pension cuts. Hoffa’s last minute letter was an effort to cover his behind. Hoffa and Hall are more concerned with PR than making a real fight. We desperately need change to save our union.”
January 9, 2015: Reckless Wall Street schemes tanked the economy and Teamster pension funds.
January 8, 2015: The lame duck Congress attached pension cut legislation to the end-of-year spending bill that will pave the way for the worst pension cuts in Teamster history.