UPS Makes Billions, But Reports Brown is in the Red

UPS made over $5 billion last year, including $1.43 billion during peak. But UPS corporate reported these profits as a loss thanks to a pension accounting charge. Get the facts behind the numbers game.

Photo: Elvert Barnes, Flickr, Creative Commons

When UPS released its earnings numbers today, the company reported a one-time charge on company pension and benefit plans of nearly $2.7 billion.

With the stroke of an accountant’s pen, UPS turned billions in operating profits into multi-million dollar losses on its balance sheet.
Without the pension charge, UPS reported a fourth-quarter profit of 1.43 billion, slightly higher than last year’s $1.41 billion.

For the year, UPS made more than $5 billion in profit after taxes without the pension accounting charge. With the charge, the company reported a loss of $239 million.

The pension accounting charge was due to lower-than-expected investment returns by UPS pension funds over the last two years. It does not affect the benefits that will be paid to Teamsters or any participants.

The $5 billion in profits is the number that UPS Teamsters need to keep in mind, especially with contract negotiations on the horizon.

The company is optimistic. Volume is up. Revenue hit a record of $61 billion. 

"We actually had a good fourth quarter,” Richard Peretz, UPS chief financial officer told the media. "While volume continued to grow, opportunity continues to grow.”

UPS is making billions of dollars in profit every year. There is no reason for any more Hoffa-Hall concessions. Volume is growing. It’s time for UPS to create more full-time jobs and reduce harassment and excessive loads.

Read More: UPS Revenue Accelerates In 4Q And Produces Record $61 Billion For 2016