UPS subsidizing non ups pensions

Discussion in 'UPS Retirement Topics' started by JonFrum, Sep 4, 2006.

  1. JonFrum

    JonFrum Guest

    UPS says it contributes to 21 multi-employer, defined benefit, pension funds on behalf of its Teamsters-represented employees. Some claim UPS and UPSers are subsidizing retirees of other companies, especially companies that have gone out of business, so that UPSers are only geting back in retirement benefits 40% of what they paid in. Can any one cite me specific clauses in the official Rules & Regulations of the various plan documents that legally require this alledged subsidy, or permit it, or at least provide ambiguous language that would allow such subsidies to take place? For the subsidies to happen, there must be a legal basis, and that basis must be spelled out in the Rules, probably with accompaning benefit tables containing the particulars.
    And which non-UPS retirees exactly are we subsidizing? Certainly not those who "retire" prior to being vested. They don't get any retirement benefits period. Is it those who "retire" early but can't collect benefits until "Normal Retirement Age?" Here in the New England Fund that's age 64. These retirees had their benefit calculated the day they "retired" and the purchasing power of their frozen amount has been diminished by inflation for all the years until they finally get their first check at age 64, assuming they or their surviving spouse are still alive.
    Some retirees only qualify for small benefit checks anyway, or only collect checks for a short time. Are they the ones consuming the lion's share of UPSer's pension fund contributions? How about retirees who's careers are abruptly cut short by their employer going out of business? If they are fortunate to at least be vested, don't they have to settle for reduced pensions, or pensions payable at (much?) later dates because they lack sufficient years of Contributory Credits? How about those who don't stop working just because their employer went bankrupt, and go out and get another job with another employer who contributes to the same pension plan? Indeed, what's the big difference between a UPSer with, say, thirty years of Contributory Pension Credit, all from one company, and some unlucky non-UPSer who has the same thirty years credit, albeit with two, or more, companies, as he keeps getting new jobs as fast as his existing employers go belly up?
    What about those who work for companies that contribute at a lesser rate? Isn't that taken into account by the funds, so that they get lower benefits accordingly?
    I don't deny there is some subsidy going on, It's unavoidable in such collectivist programs. Or that some Teamster funds are in (big?) trouble. Or that our benefit levels are inadequate. I just want someone to explain specifically how the subsidies operate and how you arrive at your estimate of their magnitude. Please be as specific as possible. Thanks.

    Now excuse me as I enjoy Labor Day by watching this very interesting video clip about UPS drivers . . .

  2. I didn't read your whole message, but to answer your question, UPS pays for all living Teamsters, regardless of who they worked for. The reason you are paying, which would be a problem otherwise, is that the union rules wouldn't ever exclude old debts, which, by the way, they don't have the money to cover.

    In fact, they don't have the money to cover your retirement. Your current contributions are going to someone who retired from a long-expired company with long-ago teamster representation.

    This is very much like the social security situation in our current. The main, and most important, difference is that the government can levy new taxes to pay for their screw-up. The teamster can only choke otherwise healthy companies until they croak.

    There are hundred of companies that don't exist, but your contributions pay for your IBT brother's retirement. It is a shame that you don't pay much less and get much more benefit by only paying into a Brotherhood of UPS Teamsters fund.

    Believe it or not, UPS was trying to get to this point during the contract that led to the strike. UPS may have went to far by saying that THEY would management the funds. However, the real reason they wanted to do this is that they are bleeding to the teamsters for people not on their retirement roles, and that UPS does not trust that the Teamsters would management your money properly, even if the Teamsters created a UPS-only fund.

    I am glad you guys are starting to look at this. During your next contact, you would do well to see both sides as screwing you, and then pit them against each other for your best interest.
  3. mittam

    mittam Member

    That's exactly why we need an all UPS union. That's why we need the APWA, we should get 100% of what UPS contributes to our pension! If you are finally getting it wake up! Join the APWA contact them apwa or Parcelworkers - A NEW LOOK! WHAT MAKES THIS UNION LOOK DIFFERENT''
    It's time to take a stand against our pensions going else where as it currently is doing. Be strong you have a voice use it ....Declare you will no longer stand to lose your pension to other companies to get less yourself!!!!!!
  4. DS

    DS Fenderbender

    SCREW the TEAMSTERS...they are useless tools that ups go golfing together to insure they both have lexuses and million dollar homes while they redirect our hard earned $ into who knows what.
    I hate them.With a UPS union we will have control over where the money goes.
  5. opie

    opie Member

    Re: UPS Pension Subsidy of NonUPSers

    I found more:

  6. any122

    any122 adirondack man

    Be carefull what you say DS or you may get accused of be anti union management like me.Its not ok to want to support a UPS only union that would be honest ,viable positive,and stronger alternative union.See there are hard core IBT members who are just not smart enough to wake up!Or they just don't care.The IBT is a corrupt corporation in the pocket of big corporations who no longer support the employees that they(IBT)where contracted to protect and safeguard their pensions,healthcareand other benefits we have earned through hard work.So the next time you see HOFFA in his new lexuses give him a big:thumbup1:
  7. JonFrum

    JonFrum Guest

    Well, a week has passed since I started this thread by challenging those who claim UPSers are subsidizing the retirement of those who worked for other companies. Thus far no one has offered any specific proof of the subsidy, or a step-by-step explanation of how it works, or how they estimated its magnitude. I'll keep waiting.

    It's hard to imagine a subsidy of major porportions because many non-UPSers who retire either aren't entitled to any benefit at all, or must wait years for their benefit to start, or are only entitled to a modest benefit, or only collect for a short time. Non-UPS pensioners have, of course, earned their Pension Credits by years of work for one or more companies who contributed to the various Pension Funds on their behalf. Ultimate benefit levels are actuarily adjusted (more or less) to account for the specific hourly contribution rate, the years of service, and weather various benefit options have been selected, such as the reduction that applies when a retiree wishes his/her surviving spouse to continue receiving a monthly check after the retiree's death.

    But let's consider the dramatic situation of a retiree who worked for a company that went out of business many years ago but is still receiving monthly benefit checks and might continue to do so for years to come. Surely UPSers are subsidizing retirees in this situation, at least? Well, yes. But let's remember that before any subsidy needs to kick in, the retiree will first be paid from all those years of contributions his company made on his behalf. Then there's all the investment income the fund made on all those contributions. And finally, let's not forget the many contributions made by that defunct company on behalf of all its workers who never achieved vesting status. Non-vested retirees, don't get any retirement benefit, period. Their contributions are forfeited and remain in the fund.

    Those who claim that UPS contributions are supporting non-UPSers are including, in their analysis, all contributions by UPS, not just those funds contributed on behalf of vested retirees. It's only fair to "compare apples with apples" and include all contributions by the long-out-of-business company on behalf of its never-vested employees as well. The individual retiree may well have quite an additional sum to draw on. Some monies have been invested and reinvested for decades. Further, the vesting requirement has been five years recently, but it use to be ten years. That's a huge number of participants from decades' past that have had contributions made in their name and reinvested year after year, and they can't claim a penny of it. Only after our non-UPS retiree draws down his prorata share of these sums would he start receiving a subsidy from the contributions of all other companies, UPS among them. How much could it possibly be?
    - - - - -
    [ Visit National Sex Offender Registry and enter your Zip Code to view maps and lists of dangerous Registered Sex Offenders living and working near your home and your childrens' schools. Includes mug shots, convictions, addresses, etc. Scary stuff. ]
  8. JonFrum

    JonFrum Guest

    You'll hear it said that UPS does not even have a seat on some of the Boards of Trustees of the various pension plans, either presently, or in past years. This may lead some to believe that if UPS had a seat, UPSers could be favored in some way, or wouldn't be disadvantaged. Actually, by law, trustees can't play favorites. They have a fiduciary duty to adhear to high standards and can be held legally accountable. If they are misbehaving, sue them or charge them. Besides, here in the New England region, our Supplement clearly states in Article 69, Section 1, (b),

    "The Employer agrees to and has executed a copy of the New England Teamsters and Trucking Industry Pension Fund Agreement and Declaration of Trust dated April 11, 1958 and accepts such agreement and Declaration of Trust, as amended, and ratifies the selection of the Employer Trustees now or hereafter serving as such, and all action heretofore or hereafter taken by them within the scope of their authority under such Agreement and Declaration of Trust."

    The Health & Welfare Funds are simillarly covered in Article 68, Section 3,

    "The Employer and the Unions which are signators hereto ratify the designation of the Employer and the employee trustees under such Agreement and ratify all action already taken or to be taken by such Trustees within the scope of their Authority."

    (See also Article 34 in the National Master, and the entirity of Articles 68 and 69 in the New England Supplement.)

    UPS signed each Contract down through the years, and a sufficient number of UPS Teamsters voted to approve them as well.

    I assume other Supplements have similar binding language. In addition to the Trust Agreements there are the Rules & Regulations of the Plans themselves.

    New England Teamsters & Trucking Industry Pension Fund
    - - - -
    You'll also hear of the intention to sue the Pension Funds to either segregate (partition) UPS contributions from the rest of the Funds' monies, or to withdraw all of UPS' past contributions and transfer them to a new, UPS-only fund. Be advised that the New England Pension Improvement Committee (NETPIC) tried this already. I sat through the entire six day case in federal court. NETPIC lost. Judges are very reluctant to intervene in private sector matters, especially ones that have been, and will be determined by negotiations, unless actual wrongdoing is present. Percieved unfairness, even if amply documented, is not enough. It was a tough lesson to learn.
    - - - -
    UPS is entitled by law to obtain, once a year, a precise determination of its Withdrawal Liability from each of the funds it contributes to. The Funds appear to be moving (slowly) in the direction of full (100%) funding as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding and recent pension reform legislation. Can someone post the actual Withdrawal Liabilities of the various funds, or at least their own rough estimates? Withdrawal Liability shrinks to zero as a fund approaches full funding of its promised vested benefits so this may be less of an issue as time goes on.
  9. JonFrum

    JonFrum Guest

    I hope everyone understands that most non-UPS pension fund participants either don't qualify for any benefits at all, or only qualify for a small, or limited benefit amount. Those who do qualify, weather for small or large benefits, draw upon contributions made by their own employer, or successive employers, on their behalf, as well as the unclaimed contributions made by those companies on behalf of employees who never worked long enough under covered employment to get vested and earn a right to a future pension, plus the investment income made by the fund over the many, many years the monies were sitting in the fund's coffers. Thus, any subsidy by UPS and UPSers, must be rather limited, especially since many companies contributed at a lesser hourly rate that UPS, and thus their retirees only qualify for a proportionatly smaller monthly pension benefit anyway. Note also that any contribution shortfall, such as happens when a company files for bankruptcy and can't pay its final debt to the pension fund, is absorbed by the fund as a whole, not just UPS. If, say, UPS contributes 20% of the fund's employer contributions anually, then UPS would be responsible for covering 20% of the uncollectable portion of the debt, not the entire debt. Of course, any company that stops contributing because of bankruptcy or simple withdrawal, also stops its employees from accumulating further pension credits. Their future benefit levels are prematurely frozen, unless they obtain work with another employer who continues contributing on their behalf.
    - - - - -
    Many people are aware of the sorry state of Social Security and have read how its financial troubles are the result of its "pay as you go" design and how growing numbers of retirees are living off the contributions of a dwindling number of young , working contributors. They then assume that financially troubled Teamsters-sponsered pension plans must be in financial trouble for the same reasons. But Teamsters plans are not "pay as you go." Teamsters plans, despite all their faults, require each employee to have contributions made on his behalf by his employer(s) and his eventual benefit is based on these contributions, with appropriate adjustments for the size and duration of the contributions made. It's not a personal savings account, but the process is somewhat similar. Everyone earns their retirement individually by having hourly contributions made in their name, in lieu of wages. We all, in effect, settle for less hourly wages, and instead, direct our employer to contribute the money to the pension fund. There should be a nest egg waiting for each of us at retirement time, one we each built up ourselves over the years.

    Social Security is an inherently unsound intergenerational (Ponzi?) scheme that requires each successive younger generation to be drafted into the system to finance the retirement of the older generation. Significantly, the first generation to retire contributed very little to the system, so the system was broke from the start. Ida Mae Fuller, the first Social Security recipient, contributed for only a few months, and at a miniscule rate, then promptly retired and spent many years collecting benefit checks. She liked Social Security just fine.

    The Social Security scheme would be illegal, and land its operators in jail if it were run by any one other than the U S Government. Teamsters funds, while far from perfect, are simply not organized as unsoundly and standard criticisms of Social Security don't apply. They are completely different arrangements.
    - - - - -
    It is also wrong to make too much of a "Our Company vs. The Rest of the Companies" analysis. That's because contributions are made on an individual basis, hour by hour, not company by company. It really makes little difference how many other employees also work for your same company, or how many work for various other companies. Nor does it matter much how many employers or employees there are in the fund or weather their numbers are growing or dwindling. Or even what the ratio of retirees to active contributors is, or weather the retirees' ranks are growing relative to actives. All these statistics are worth looking at, but all that really matters is that you, as an individual, contributed all those years, and eventually it will be time to withdraw your money. Even if the fund's active members dwindle and the number of contributing employers shrinks to the single digit range (very unlikely), all this means is that the fund is smaller, not that you lost any money. (I'm not talking here about bonehead trustees investing the funds' assets in a "down" stock market and sitting on their hands for several years as they watch the carnage slowly unfold. That does mean you lost money.) If the fund shrinks further, the trustees or sponsors may shut down the fund in an orderly way by cashing everyone out if it isn't worth operating the fund for such a small number of people. Or the fund could be merged with a larger fund. Think of it like having a long term savings account at your local bank to which you contribute regularly. It doesn't matter much what others do. They may save just like you, or they may save at a higher or lower rate, or for shorter or longer periods. They may work for the same employer as you or a different one. So what? Your account is seperate from theirs, even though all monies are commingled. It doesn't matter if they withdraw their money. Or if your bank is large or small. Any analytical lumping of your account with others is artifical and of limited usefulness. Someone who works in your UPS building on a different shift may be a total stranger to you, while someone from another company may be your best friend. It doesn't matter. Many surviving spouses and dependants who live off a UPSers' pension checks as beneficiaries have never worked a day for UPS, just like all those non-UPSers we're supose to resent.

    Again, Teamsters pension funds are not exactly like bank savings accounts, but they are roughly similar, at least once you get vested, and very different from the Social (In)Security System. The latter requires a constant influx of fresh, young sheep to be sheared to pay benefits to the older generation of current retirees, some of whom have spent their lives voting themselves ever higher levels of benefits. There is no trust fund (to speak of) to provide benefits. The Teamsters-sponsored funds, are designed under the Taft-Hartley law and requires each participant to contribute into a trust fund through his employer(s) so there will be money available when he retires. Ultimate benefit levels are set with the help of actuaries who take into account the individual participant's age, hourly contribution rate, hours worked per year, years of service, etc. There is undoubtedly some limited subsidies built into the formulas, but it is what you would expect in any group arrangement, not a theft of 60% of your retirement funds.
    - - - - -
    The UPS retirement plan that the company proposed during the 1997 contract negotiations was presented to us during The Strike in the form of a professionally produced booklet designed like a Summary Plan Description, but intended to sell us on the benefits of a UPSers only plan. I still have the brochure, (and the Health & Welfare one as well,) and I remember being shocked at what a terrible plan it was. I assumed at the time that UPS could handle money better than the Teamsters, until I read the details, and saw all the bad features of the plan. Dig out your copy if you still have it. And remember, this is a sales brochure intented to put the plan in the best possible light.
  10. ConArtists

    ConArtists Guest

    Wow, nice sentence structure and vocabulary. You seem infinately wise on this subject. You sound more like an HR manager, or, perhaps, a district comptroller than an hourly.

    What troubles me is that your well argued opinion differs so much from the meeting I sat in with the District Manager and Division Managers on this subject. My position is neither, but I was a member of the lower ranks invited to this seminar on UPS contributions to the Teamsters.

    Maybe you have it right. Management has been known to be wrong.

    I suspect you are an hourly because you would otherwise not say a few of the things you did. Again, much of what you say is true, but UPS does, almost wholely, subsidize Teamster finances.

    The UPS program was flawed -- so is the Teamster plan.
  11. ups79

    ups79 Active Member

    jonfrum:finally someone who understands how your pension is earned. I have, without any luck, tried to explain this to the brown cafe board for a number of months now. Hopefully others on this board will read this and finally understand what I have been trying to preach for a number of months. Thank you for your clear description of your, mine and their's pension.
  12. trickpony1

    trickpony1 Well-Known Member

    For those of us who understood/knew JonFrum's dissertation, here's the next big questions:

    What's your point?
    What is he/she suggesting?
    What does he/she see for the future? After such an eloquent presentation it was anticlimatic to stop short of a panacea.

    (no sarcasm intended)
  13. Cezanne

    Cezanne New Member

    It is not that he did not suggest a solution or resolution to the underfunding but he appears to have done some research into this matter and has the ability to understand some of the technical aspects of how benefit programs are funded. Keep posting and add to the debate, any knowledge is power in capable hands:thumbup1:
  14. hoser

    hoser Industrial Slob

    One of my friends was an aircraft mechanic with NWA in MSP. All the mechanics were approached by a union called the AMFA, whose objective was to take over IAM. And the mechanics bought it. Only that the AMFA represents aircraft mechanics ($60/hr) right down to aircraft groomers ($6/hr).

    A few years later, the AMFA took it upon themselves to take on bankrupt NWA. They called a strike and said no one could replace them. NWA called their bluff and had replacements a week later.

    That strike is at day 393 effective 18 September 2006. And they will not relent that they lost.

    Moral of the story: be careful of rogue unions.
  15. ups79

    ups79 Active Member

    The point is that UPS is not subsidizing non UPS pensions. Apwa will have no means to better your pension(unless of course the vehicle for investment provides a better return than that which is provided through the teamsters), but then again that depends upon what risk you want them to take for your retirement. It appears to me that the locals who not only control your pension, but also controls your health benefits are the ones that are hurting. Some locals do not control your health benefits, they are administered by UPS.
    If apwa could provide what they say they could, the only ones that benefit from this would be those who have yet to even be hired. The nearer you are to retiring, the less you would gain(if you were to gain anything at all).
  16. Megansman

    Megansman Member

    I read jonfrom's essay, as well as the AWPA presentation, and no one has yet explained why Central States fund is out of money. If in fact, the teamsters has an account of sorts for me and everyone else, then I should be able to retire on schedule no matter what happens to other contributing companies.
  17. When we were given the one voice one vision whatever presentation
    our CTR MGR said that UPS is involved in non UPS pensions.

    OTher than that I can't offer any proof...

    Seems like while we can hope the company comes through for
    pension and retirement, we all should be banking some of our
    money away each paycheck for retirement...
  18. Automaton

    Automaton New Member

    If I understand this correctly, the CSPF is underfunded because they put our money in investments that performed poorly, and consequently lost some of that money. If it were true that you have your own seperate "account" within the fund, in theory you would still be able to retire on schedule, but you would have to accept reduced benefits based on the money still available to you in your account. And those who have already retired and are already collecting benefits should have their benefits reduced as well, since some of their money was also lost, right?(Otherwise, it might give the impression that their pensions were being subsidized by UPS, and/or any other contributors still paying into the fund on behalf of current employees. Of course there are no seperate accounts, the money is all pooled together, and there are all kinds of rules and regulations that the fund managers have to follow, blah blah blah, so the situation is more complicated than perhaps it should be. I think that over time, the fund will be able to get back on track and restore or even increase benefits. But it sure sucks for those who are ready to retire right now, and the pension is telling them "we need more time to replace the money we lost."
  19. Cezanne

    Cezanne New Member

    Here it is in a nutshell what JonFrum is saying: The company speaks with forked tongue with it's claim of being over burdened with covering these bankrupt freight companies retirees. When employment ends, your vesting in any benefit program ends also. Your retirement benefit is frozen till you are eligible to collect which is currently at age 65. Unless these unemployed teamsters who lost their jobs with these defunct freight companies got hired on by other teamster union represented companies they will not be able to gain any vested credits to collect a full pension. Those who worked over five years are vested to collect a small percentage only at retirement age, the monetary contributions that were put into that trust is locked in for investment till the time they are eligible to collect. That is how these pension plans are set up to get the most return on the initial investments. The statement about the drastic reduction of these freight companies in the central states area because of deregulation of the trucking business causing UPS to cover all those retirees does not make sense. First of all this deregulation occured around l980, back before they started to raise benefits in the early nineties the average retirement for 30 years under central states was about 1,000 a month. I have said the before, but that famous strike in "97" was to create full time jobs as Carey stated for the sole reason to start added newer and younger participants into their pension and health and welfare programs. I too still have the booklet that the company was promoting during it's attempt to take over the pension funding, it was very vague and their was statements about them reducing your pension benefit for any other contributing factors that UPS has contributed to. Did not know if they meant the teamster's fund or social security, and of course the subject to change provisions. Trust was the deciding issue on who you would like to look out for your individual interests.
  20. ups79

    ups79 Active Member

    To top that, it wasn't to long ago that you needed 10 years to be vested.