Has IBT/CS been a wise steward of our pension?

Discussion in 'UPS Retirement Topics' started by nospinzone, Apr 18, 2005.

  1. my2cents

    my2cents Guest

    wkmac,

    From my understanding, the APWA has been designated by the NLRB as a national bargaining unit, which means the certification election will be national as well. The local by local setup, which we are all used to, does not apply. This was a key point I learned at the Louisville meeting I attended about one month ago.

    Once 30% of UPS employees on a national level sign a petition, the certification election can be held. If I'm not mistaken, this determination will be made once the APWA has enough members - i.e., an APWA membership card serves as a proxy in this regard. If the APWA gets certified, the Teamsters are out nationally. However, I don't know what the APWA's internal structure will be for matters on the local and/or regional level.

    One question I find intriguing is, with the IBT elections coming up, will this help get APWA's competing message out? The APWA could act as a potential off-ballot third party alternative, if the UPS membership doesn't like Hoffa's or the TDU's message. All-in-all, this should be a healthy process because it should get the average rank-and-filer thinking a bit.
     
  2. wkmac

    wkmac Guest

    Sawman,
    Back in 1996' I had a co-worker who retired from UPS after I think it was 28 years and he I think was 67 years old. He drew at the time a full retirement based on the number of years he worked plus his age but our area didn't come into the CS plan until sometime in the 1970's and I believe it was the earlier 70's moreso than the later 70's but not sure of the specifics. However, he got credit all the way back to day one. You suggest UPS when it entered CS paid out back to his day one to get coverage for those years. That may be true but can you show this as fact? I ask this because I believe it to be a very important point not to our discussion here but to the overall idea as this goes forward. Even if UPS paid, the fund was already established made by contributions from others ie other companies and thus allowing my co-worker and others to draw a much better benefit at retirement than might have been possible had he joined a brand new plan. This is an assumption on my part and not a confirmed fact so don't take it as such. Again, as I said earlier, we've got to look at EVERYTHING not just the things that make your or my ideas look good. I think it's very important to know how it all got stated, who did what and when, what really is the union and the company's place in all this process. I like the ideas proposed by APWA and I think the idea of the pay freeze for 2 years may have some merit but I want to see some hard data on all of this before I'll support any idea. I still believe all the money UPS spends on behalf of your employment is money you as an individual earned whether you ever see it directly or not. UPS as with any other business doesn't give away money for nothing. Your labor covers that cost and therefore if we freeze the pay of UPSers who are in plans that are solid I truly believe we are taking from them what is rightfully theirs just to benefit ourselves. I just respectfully disagree with your positions on this. I don't support govt's doing that and I don't support individuals who've formed private collectives doing that as well. If folks like UPS79 want to volunteer to join with us I'd be most appreciative but I don't agree with the brute force of a majority. What if UPS79 had a child about to enter college and because we froze his pay he was now unable to send his child to college. Are you potentailly willing to do that just to save your retirement? That might be overkill that doesn't taste to well but it could be the case in some situations. It's just a principle I believe in and I won't change it even for my own benefit.

    BTW UPS79: I mean no disrespect using you as an example other than I get the impression you are under a plan you like and see no need to change and I can understand and respect that. I just hope by discussing this now we can plan better and just maybe come up with an idea that both you and I along with Sawman, ez, Speed and others can not only like but all get behind with equal excitement and push to where we all win out in the end.

    m2c,
    I don't believe at this time you can get 30% not if everyone really looks hard for the raw facts because at this time there isn't enough there. Sure I like what I hear and read on the website and if true and can be proven you may get the 30% and it will be the South IMO that would carry this effort but in the North and to some degree mid west and west, as we say down South, Brother you got a hard row to hoe!

    My point was doing this process facility by facility. One facility somewhere decides to de-certify and recognize APWA in the process. You see under our labor law that governs us you can certify facility to facility and the same is true on the flip side. I believe this process has a better chance and once one or a few do this and if the promise is really there and UPSers across the board see it then it may be a snowball downhill the IBT can't stop.

    As for APWA making a 3rd party run? It could but are we talking about UPSers taking the IBT completely over? I'm sure freight, carhaul, etc. would have much to say about this and they would not go quietly. So I'm not sure that has much of a chance but where I do agree APWA can have an impact is the ideas they propose and how that could place pressure on the current leadership and any possible future leadership. They will have to address theses issues and come this November it will be 2 years since the changes to CS took place. Why is that relevant? Acrossing to ERISA rules, once a change like we had takes place it must remain in place for 2 years. With all the pressure from members and all the talk from the union leadership we need to watch what happens in November. We need to hold CS accountable abut also our leadership on what they have said to the membership. I'm not suggesting CS can go back to what it was and based on future demographics I'd question long and hard if they did because I'd fear the same thing as 03' happening again in the near future and this time I might be right at retirement and then it would hurt even more so than it does now.

    Again, we just need a lot more solid facts out here before anyone can truly make up their minds about where to go or what direction. As much as I like what I hear about APWA it's still to vague and I can't say I'd sign a petition at this point to de-certify even though I truly believe change is needed.
     
  3. sawman

    sawman Guest

    WKmac,
    You bring up a good point and I see where the people in single employer funds would be agains this pay freeze.
    But, the majority are in multi-employer fund, just a small portion are in funds that are in good standing.

    I for one would not be apposed to excluding these small group from the pay freeze and only freeze the employees that are in multi-employer fund all be it we might have to up the two years to two and a half or three years, but I for one think that it would still be worth it. That is assumimg that we foot the whole bill. UPS may pick up a portion of it and that would shorten the time of the pay freeze.
    As far as the few and I do mean few people that retired back in the 70's (we had one at our building that left with 25 years and draws a little over 500.00 a month), there were not enoug hof them to make much difference. The rest of us have had money paid in since day one, so no one carried us, we paid our way.

    Furthermore, if you check, every piece of paper that UPS has given you since day one that talks about your earnings, it states hourly wage plus insurance, plus pension = your salary. Your pension and insurance are a part of what you make each day. UPS even goes as far as totaling these together and gives you a lump sum of what your job is worth. So, the pension money is ours not the Teamsters or CS or any other pension funds.
     
  4. my2cents

    my2cents Guest

    wkmac,

    I can see your point with the local decerts, but although I could be wrong, I don't think the NLRB would accept the APWA as a local bargaining agent. It wouldn't surprise me if there are a few local bargaining units down south where a decert petition would be successful. The designation the NLRB gave the APWA is similar to the designations given under the RLA. This would make a good legal question, however, if a local bargaining unit decertified the Teamsters and voted in the APWA, would the result stand?

    My comments about the APWA during the upcoming IBT elections were tongue in cheek. I don't see the APWA taking over the IBT, I see it more as a "none of the above" type of action. Additionally, to be honest, I think the APWA suffers somewhat from a bunker mentality, which hurts its message and gives the impression of being vague. This national movement is a huge task and getting the right fact-filled messages out with effective communication is key.
     
  5. ok2bclever

    ok2bclever Guest

    Sawman,

    I don't think I follow your thoughts regarding UPS contributed for us all the time we worked and so that makes us better than any of the other Teamsters.

    Every Teamster in the plan had a company contributing to the plan for every day they worked also.

    I keep hearing about how the problem is we are carrying all these retirees who's companies have gone out of business.

    Those companies that went out of business stopped contributing to the plan, but the employees affected didn't get any more credit towards retirement from that point on, so where do they deserve less, where have they not carried their weight in regards to the pension?

    All this talk about how UPS is putting sooooo much money in that we should get double seems strange as any retiree getting the same as promised to us must be in the same bracket (18) and that means their company is or was contributing a similar amount for the entire time they were getting pension credit.

    That means that the fund, mutually ran by 50% management representatives and 50% union representatives was and is not apparently getting enough contributions from the companies for the amount of benefits they are dispursing and/or they are not investing it well.

    According to the latest public statistics the Central States investment results compared to other pension funds has been within acceptable limits.

    That seems to say that either the company contributions are insufficient or the benefits are too high, either of which would be clearly within UPS's ability to forecast.

    The "carrying others" battle cry is popular, but it seems flawed to me.
     
  6. sawman

    sawman Guest

    Other companies are not putting in as much as UPS, yet there employees are enjoying the same benifits.
    The last figures on CS fund that I saw.
    There are 300 companies in the CS plan, UPS puts 75% of the money in, the other 299 companies put in 25% combined. Thus our assursion that we should get more.
     
  7. ok2bclever

    ok2bclever Guest

    Could you post the actual source you are getting these figures from?

    My understanding is there are 18 plus company contribution levels at CS with appropriate payouts for pensions that are reflective of the level paid in so the figures do not seem like they would be correct unless UPS now represents close to 75 percent of the active employees, which I do not believe is the case.

    I know it is a great rallying cry that UPS is carry the pension, but I want to know why as those from companies that went under were paid for by those companies for every hour/day of credit they have in the fund.

    When those companies went under the employees stopped getting any further credit towards their pension so what they got they earned and it was paid for by their company.

    It appears that the system was set up to pay out th e current level of benefits in an ongoing IOU paid for by the existing companies and that is where UPS is now feeling the burden rather than any so called free rides.
     
  8. wkmac

    wkmac Guest

    OK2BC,
    Good point and question as I am starting to understand that what you describe is the way it is. In my email contact with APWA Mr. Silkman talked about the numerous rumors over the internet and his concern for them as they pertain to the APWA effort. Sawman and any of the rest of us, I know we aren't happy with what we have and it's human nature to latch on to anything that makes it simple to understand and explain but we've got to start throwing out hard facts no matter how it makes the issue look. Until we do that we can and will be manipulated by anyone that is willing to throw out a chewy carrot and at the end of the day the only thing we'll have is a severe case of the gut ache!

    In all this talk on the pension I wonder if the real enemy may not be the healthcare costs themselves. I haven't seen the article but I heard George Will wrote an interesting piece earlier this week on the retirement system at General Motors and the fact it is such a drain on their bottomline and if I heard correct it wasn't so much the monthly pension check but it was the health cost of the retirees. Back in the mid 90's when the idea of some form of nationalized healthcare was being discussed it was said at the time that privately GM and many other large companies were thinking seriously of getting on board because if the gov't via the taxpayer took this over then the massive amount of money freed up to the bottomline would make their earnings skyrocket. Maybe they saw what is happening now ahead of time and like any good businessman wanted to limit their exposure and expenses.

    We can discuss retirement monthly checks all day long but I'm beginning to believe we also need to take a very hard look at healthcare costs. As a point to this CS took the retirement age without having to come out of pocket in a big way for health coverage up to 62 from 55. If I'm correct 62 is the earliest you can qualify for medicare which when this happens the medicare becomes the primary. A connection maybe? And if so maybe this is a clue to us as to where to look for the real source of what is effecting us the most. I say that because getting back to OK's original point that the exact funds needed to fund the retirement for each of us is placed into an account, in some of our cases with CS and if this is true, then specifically on retirement we should be AOK. However if the medical part vastly exceeds inflation of the growth rate factored by the plan then we may see exactly what we are seeing. Are we focused in the wrong area? I'm just asking. Thoughts! Comments! Ideas!
     
  9. sawman

    sawman Guest

    OK2,
    No that is wrong, all members get the same pension based on there years of service, but all companies do not pay the same in per person, To my knowledge UPS is the only company that pays in enough to cover there employees pension in full the rest of the companies pensions are supplemented by UPS money, this is why there is such hostility towards those that talk about leaving. Because UPS carries the brunt of the load for paying all the pensions. At present UPSers only get 40 cents of every dollar paid in for them, the other 60 cents goes to pay other companies pensions.

    As far as the documentation,I will do some research and try to find were all this info is. Most of it comes from many different sources, a little hear a little there. But I will try and locate some of it and get back to you.
     
  10. wkmac

    wkmac Guest

    m2c,
    You do in fact have some local bargaining agents that are not IBT. In some pockets of the country there are PE mechanics and Auto Mechanics covered by the Machinist's Union instead of the IBT so in some cases it just might be possible to have a local agent different from the larger part of the country. If it's gonna happen it will be down South where labor unions have never had advantages and strengths with the political powers like they have enjoyed elsewhere. Also I'm sure there are feelings within political circles of power that a deminished IBT would be a good thing and APWA or other efforts may be given special favor where possible.

    This process will be interesting but what I see even better are the issues coming out onto the table for all to see who want to see them and that is the best part of all. I don't believe we've ever been in a position to be fully informed but with what happened to the pension system may have started to awaken the masses and in the future this may change. Another powerful weapon is what you and I are using right now and that is the internet where we all across the country can communicate directly and this scares both sides IMO.
     
  11. wkmac

    wkmac Guest

    sawman,
    I've heard the same thing but other than certain parties saying this I have no proof and have seen none. If you get that proof in hard fact and show that to the UPS masses your argument that a $7k per month pension is possible will almost make itself. That is how important having that hard fact could be to a UPS only union effort. JMO.

    I know McDevitt testified something to this effect to Congress a couple of years ago when a subcommittee had hearings on America's pension systems. I know a website where you can find legislation and committeee reports and I'll try and find this. I don't think it'll be the hard fact itself but in the committee report there may be a clue as to where to look. Ain't making any promises but I'll look and post here what I find for everyone.
     
  12. sawman

    sawman Guest

    WK, while the Health care cost is a major issue, it isn't the problem with the pension funds. The main problem with the CS health care system is that they are milking us for way more than the acctuaul cost of our health care coverage. If you are in touch with Mr. Skillman, ask him to explain this, and how the APWA can offer so much better coverage for so much less money.
    The problem with our pension is the multi-employer system. So many trucking companies going under, and who foots the bill for there retirees? WE DO! out of our retirement money, the companies that go under no longer contribute to the fund but there retirees still draw a check, and I know, your going to say that the money was paid while the retiree was working, but the company didn't pay in enough to cover his pension, so UPS picks up the tab. There are also more retirement checks going out than there are active workers so the fund goes further in the hole each month. A result of the Teamsters union not doing there job of organizing enough people to balance the system.

    This is why, while I have sympathy for these people that there companies are not paying there fair share, the answer is not for us to keep taking loses so that they keep getting there checks. Our company is paying for ours, so we should get our pension in full no questions asked, they need to look to there companies for the money and stop looking to UPS for it.
    That is why getting out and starting our own UPS only pension fund is the only way that we and our pensions will servive.
     
  13. wkmac

    wkmac Guest

    sawman,
    I understand the demographics of CS as even CS has clearly spelled this out. This is a fact not internet rumor. As to some companies not paying in enough I can believe this. With the mob corruption within Teamsters and the mob also owning and operating some trucking operations I can believe what you say about some comapnies not paying enough but can I prove it? Nope! Therefore until I can I have to go with the point OK made because at this time the facts point to this. In my gut I feel what you say is probably dead on but we've got to stick with the facts and if we think something is like this or that then we have to prove it.

    If you give me an incorrect fact or an unverified fact based on rumor that turns out not to be true even though your heart was in the right place how can I truly count on everything else you said to be true and that I can depend on that? I honestly believe you're thinking in the right direction but we've just got to get the facts to back it up. How easy would your job be here to convince others if you could show hard data that $.60 of every dollar UPS pays goes to a non-UPSer?
     
  14. wkmac

    wkmac Guest

  15. ok2bclever

    ok2bclever Guest

    Sawman,

    You are certainly wrong in your statement that all Teamster retirees are paid the same amount.

    Of that I am positive.

    There are 18+ contribution levels with corresponding pension benefit levels.

    For instance, we are at level 18 which requires a minimum contribution of $166 per week as of December 31, 2003 and at that time gave you an annual credit of $86.32 towards your pension whereas level 1 required a minimum contribution of a minute $6 for the same time period and gave you a whopping annual credit of $3.12.

    The contribution and benefit levels vary accordingly and appropriately in between those two extremes for all the levels in between.

    Your claims that all CS pension retirees get the same pension amounts is blatantly incorrect and you are not doing the APWA a positive service by throwing out false facts, statements and accusations.

    I don't believe you are doing so dishonestly, but your statements are not correct.

    I don't suggest I understand the whole gestalt, but I suspect that the benefit levels are not sustainable per the contribution levels for any companies including UPS, except by having enough multiple workers contributions being able to fund the retirees benefits as an ongoing pea game that works as long as there are a significant higher number of workers than retirees.

    UPS is in the best condition for this primarily by being a younger workforce who's retirees are in the minority simply because of the demographics of having a relatively young workforce.

    Being a growing company assists this positive situation, but our growth has significantly declined and your demographics are about to take a huge change as the baby boom generation starts retiring in earnest.
     
  16. trickpony1

    trickpony1 Guest

    Sawman,
    I'm sure you were around when UPS jacked around with the Thrift Plan.
    Just recently UPS jacked around with management's MIP.
    Am I the only person who believes there is a trend developing here?
    And you think we should volunteer to give UPS a two year wage freeze in hopes that it will help bail UPS out of CS?
    I am really having second thoughts about this.
     
  17. sawman

    sawman Guest

    OK2,
    You are compairing apples to oranges. My great uncle retired from Packard Motor Co. with 40 years of service and drew 18 dollars a month, but what does that have to do with our situation. I guess I assume to much when I assume that everyone understands that we are talking of level 18 pensions.

    Pony, No one said that we would enter any agreement with UPS on a pay freeze without legal council and contract that governs this transaction.
     
  18. my2cents

    my2cents Guest

    As it stands now, multi-employer funds are co-mingled, otherwise the partitioning bill never goes to Congress. It is difficult to tell who has what share of these plans. The only way to find out would be to open the books, which these funds probably won't do. Instead, one can only get summarized results, which can show whether or not the cash flow is negative or positive, the ratio of retirees to participants and the overall funding level.

    One positive thing about an APWA sponsored plan would be the fact that it would be a single employer plan and it would have to be funded at a 90% or greater level. This would pretty much end most of the mental gymnastics required with multi-employer funds.
     
  19. ok2bclever

    ok2bclever Guest

    Sawman,

    You know where assume gets you.

    I am not comparing apples to oranges and you are digging yourself farther into admitting you don't actually understand the pension structure and are just parroting popular buzzword claims or are purposefully trying to mislead people, which would be extremely disappointing.

    I will remain in my belief that that last possibility isn't the case at this time.

    Let's just talk about level 18 contributors, you are saying there are company's that are level 18 that were not contributing at a level anywhere near as much as UPS was?!

    They are paying within cents of all other level 18 contributors as that is the defining point to qualifying for level 18.

    Or are you saying there was/is some nefarious plan that has let a bunch of now defunct companies contribute at some contribution level lower than level 18, but get credit for level 18?

    The point is when a company dies and stops contributing the employees do not get another minute/day/week/year of contribution credit so no one is "carrying" them, least of all UPS, except in the sense that the plan's math (input versus output) was never financially sound, which to me now appears is the case.

    The plan is financially not well, but it isn't because "UPS pays soooo much more than others and the rest are not contributing their fair share".

    The plan is in trouble apparently because the contribution level is not adequate for the benefit level.

    The idea apparently was that investments would ultimately make up the difference knowing that a relatively high ratio of contributing employees to retirees would cover/hide the math descrepancy.

    As the baby boomers generation was an easily forecastable upcoming occurance it seems that all responsible parties could have extrapolated what was going to happen, but just didn't hoping it would be someone else's problem before the sht hit the fan.

    Failing companies just accelerated the problem, not caused it.

    UPS has a legitimate financial concern and current responsibility and liability to the pension situtation that appears will only get worse which is why they are trying to get legistlation to bail them, not us out.

    Therefore, I agree with Mr Skillman that it is inherently in their interest and their responsibility to buy their way out of the fund if they cannot cheat their way out with legistlation changes.

    It is not our responsibility to bail them out.

    I would be in favor of considering helping them out incentive wise in future contract negotiations regarding this issue, but your statements of selling this wage freeze boat before the company has even tried to incorporate such concessions into a contract negotiation is exactly the neophyte negotiation ability that I earlier warned I was worried a "rookie" new union negotiating group would make.

    I will say Mr Skillman sounds more experienced than that at least.

    I do believe the claims that we should be getting 7000 a month from our contributions need to be further substantiated than what I have seen from UPS and the APWA so far.

    There are a ton of investment gurus who can show you how you can become a millionaire with them by using "their" formula plugged into past statistics, but somehow the vast majority of them have never made any of their followers millionaires in that same time period.

    I am considering that and taking any simple claims forecasting going on by the various factions that will benefit from us jumping ship with a grain of salt.

    I agree with wkmac that the medical side of the coin is throwing a huge monkey wrench into the plans of mice and men and at this time that monkey wrench continues to grow bigger with every year at an increasing rate with no solutions apparent at this time.
     
  20. my2cents

    my2cents Guest

    On top of this, both Ford and GM were downgraded the other day by S&P to "junk" status, in regards to their credit rating. Pension and health care issues were not the only reasons for the downgrade, but certainly a contributing factor. As UPSers, these are definitely issues we should pay attention to regarding our own future and the future of the company.