Central States and Thanks Cheryl



Thanks Cheryl for posting the article from the St. Louis Today concerning the Central States pension fund. That's what IMO makes Browncafe a must see for "ALL" UPSers.

Speaking of Central States, I'm hearing a number of lawsuits are being or have been filed challenging the new retirement work rules. I've heard Georgia and North Carolina mentioned by name and that they may go class action. What I've heard is via the Feeder Driver pipeline so nothing from official sources but has anyone else heard anything? Anything official?

I think it is time we members turn up the heat on the Teamster's union to run an honest and above board pension system. Also I hear Congress is looking at pension reform and although I "HATE" the Federal govt's involvement in my life I say we use this to our advantage. Drop a line to your Senator and Congressman about your concern over irregularities in Central States and also CC a copy to Hoffa. With IBT's current effort to wiggle out of Fed oversight this is the last thing they want so why not take advantage of it.

UPS stepped up to the plate on the recent contract so now it is time we members stepped up to the plate also. JMO.


Central States Teamsters Join Together to
Fight the Pension Freeze

The movement to end the freeze in pension benefits and win other pension improvements is spreading throughout the regions covered by the Central States, Southeast, and Southwest Areas Pension Fund.

Rank-and-file Teamsters are gathering signatures on a petition to end the pension freeze, roll back the increase in retiree healthcare premiums, and ease the harsh re-employment rule which prevents Teamsters from getting another job after they retire.

The petition is being circulated by the Teamster Pension Improvement Committee, a group made up of rank and file Teamsters, both current and retired, who are concerned about recent actions by the Central States Pension Fund.

Many Teamsters were eagerly awaiting a pension increase to kick in after the new UPS contract settlement so they could retire. In the past, pension increases have always come at contract negotiation time. UPS members had identified the pension as their number one priority for the new contract and President Hoffa had said this was going to be the best contract ever.

So members were shocked to hear the news: pension benefits under the Central States Fund were being frozen for up to six more years. Since the last increase was in 1997, that would make for an 11-year pension freeze! To make matters worse, the Central States Fund announced new restrictions on taking work after retirement that would make it virtually impossible to get any sort of work without losing pension benefits. Teamsters throughout the 25-state region covered by the Central States Fund are asking themselves how long they can wait for pension improvements. Im to the point where Im looking to retire, says Larry Smith of Local 891 in Mississippi. But I want to stay until we can win a fair pension increase and get these rules changed so that retired Teamsters can do odd jobs without having to fear theyll lose their pension benefits.

Movement Grows
A lot of Teamsters feel the same way. More than 100 rank-and-file Teamsters met in Greensboro, N.C., on Saturday, Oct. 5 to talk about the benefits crisis and what we can do to end the freeze. Four even flew to Greensboro in a small plane owned by a co-worker to make sure they could be there. TDU staffer David Pratt and attorney Ann Thompson were on hand to answer questions and help.

We are not going to give up, said Local 391 UPSer Frank Bryant after the meeting. Weve got to stand up at union meetings and hold their feet to the fire. Local unions need to back us up on an increase of $500 per month right away. If they wont support the members on this, we will vote them out as soon as we get a chance.

Local 164 UPSers in Jackson, Mich., met on Sept. 30to discuss the pension problem. They took petitions to gather signatures at their center and other centers they come in contact with. There was a lot of anger expressed about the re-employment rule. People talked about Teamster brothers and sisters they know who had been denied benefits for taking jobs far outside the jurisdictions covered by the Teamsters. These included lawn maintenance service, hardware store, and boat captain.

Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas Teamsters will meet in Memphis on Sunday, Oct. 20, to discuss what they can do to end the pension freeze and allow Teamsters to work after retirement. Call TDU for more information on the Memphis meeting or to set up your own local meeting.

Teamster officials are starting to feel the pressure. In Detroit, carhaulers in Local 299 passed a motion calling for an end to the pension freeze and improvement in benefits at their carhaul contract proposal meeting on Sept. 29. The motion called for a substantial pension increase of at least $500 a month, a reversal in the increase in health care premiums for retirees, elimination of the surviving spouse penalty, and easing of the harsh re-employment rule.

After 400 angry members showed up at the Local 120 union hall in Minneapolis, their local vice-president, Brad Slawson Sr., who is also an International representative and top aide to Secretary-Treasurer Tom Keegel, wrote an open letter to the fund trustees demanding changes in the re-employment rule. Expect to see more of this as support builds and officials start to feel the pressure from their members.


I want a pension when I grow up too.


tdu: Do you understand why the fund is frozen? I think much has been written about how underfunded the Central States Pension fund actually is, and how it has served as a slush fund for corrupt Teamster leaders.

Don't use my last statement as a way to attack the current Teamster leadership in another post. TDU supporters, of which I am not one of, could do no better due to the fact that the pension fund has been raided for so long. Why do you think that the Teamsters have been under the Fed's microscope for the last several years?

Another problem with the Central States fund is that it supports retired members of companies that have been out of business for a long time. That is a financial drain that the Teamsters can't stop.

The real answer to this problem came in 1997, when UPS proposed to take over the pension fund for UPS Teamsters. That didn't happen, and as long as the Teamsters manage the pension fund, you can expect a freeze. If you asked them for the financial status of that fund, you would quickly see that an immediate $500/month increase could not happen. Nobody can fix that - it's all about cash - what is coming in (of which UPS is the biggest contributor) is much less that what is going out to retirees.

Now I do agree with the demand that the Teamsters relax the idiotic re-employment rule.


A simple question I asked in '97 about the pension fund issue...."if you had $10,000 and had to choose who would manage it, UPS or Teamsters, who would you choose?"

Got either lip, lies or stares in reply. And then usually "it's not the same...we just don't trust UPS".

Now it's even more clear that the decision the rank and file was a mistake. Central States agreement even has language directing them to get their act together.

At some point rhetoric meets fact.


What I don't understand is why wasn't somebody else picked to run it? I would rather see the fund ran by Jefferson-Pilot than EITHER supervision or the teamsters.

I just hope the government keeps an eye on things.


A lawsuit challenging the new retirement work rules is about to be filed. I saw a copy of a letter from a lawfirm to 3 UPSers on this issue. They are seeking class action status and I have a feeling a lot of dirt that the union doesn't want out stands a chance of seeing the light of day once this ball starts rolling down hill. IMO, this is a very good thing for all UPSers.