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

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

  1. ezrider

    ezrider Guest


    In the article that my2cents provided a link for, there were benefits of $5000 to $6000 a month being handed out at one point. It's not out of the realm of possibility that in areas such as New York where real estate, healthcare , etc. can be as much as double or more the price compared to other parts of the country where a monthly payout could reach $7000. In any case that situation would be an exception to the collective economic conditions that pertain to the majority of hourlies affected to the issue at hand so it's a moot point regardless and not a very strong selling point for APWA recruitment. Even if the company could afford to pay that amount, which of course they can't, they never would anyway since they wouldn't have to.

    An article in the May 5th edition of Wall Street Journal paints a potentially ugly scene for companies saddled with underfunded pension plans. Due to PBGC having to absorb so many failed plans from the steel and airline industry it is very likely that the premiums that PBGC collects from companies to comprise it's budget may more than likely double. In addition to that increase, there is also a measure that could implement a variable rate from year to year on the increase if the legislation passes.

    That's about as bad of a direction as this storm could have taken for a company that likes to operate on the premise of long range strategic planning under fixed costs. Granted 2008 is three years away, but this is one dark tunnel and and not any light in sight. We are going to have to find a way to get our goals alligned with thiers or none of us are going to reach retirement.
  2. wkmac

    wkmac Guest

    I'd not doubt if there were isolated pockets that got this amount but so far sawman has not given any hard proof of that. If he has I stand corrected but that was where my point was aimed. You suggest these small funds would hurt APWA but let me ask you this because I happened to disagree. It may be these funds APWA can point to and say if these guys can do it then why have they not done it for you? That is an excellent question to ask and there is enough smoke and clouds of suggested wrongdoings surrounding the Teamsters that it wouldn't take much to pick up that ball and run with it for many touchdowns. Once the large seed of doubt is planted and yes it's already there just beneath the surface then it won't take much water.

    McDevitt in his testimony to Congress a couple of years ago was the first to bring up this much higher monthly figure if I remember right. I know it was linked here on Browncafe at one time so if someone knows where it is maybe they could post his testimony just to clarify exactly what he said. Just remembering the skuttlebut when he testified this was when I first heard this $7k per month figure flying around. Now did this come from some offical source who had facts to support how this amount could be paid or did some wide eyed UPSer just dream it up and then the UPS rumor network run with it? If McDevitt in fact did say it then this should be of interest to all of us no matter where we stand because for one, McDevitt is under oath just like in court when he testified to Congress and to be quite honest I'm not willing to believe that even UPS would use the US Congress to spread a lie to undercut the union.

    EZ, those other funds could in fact be used as a model for funds like CS to follow but until we get hard facts either from APWA or even the IBT defenders who will consider nothing but standing put that such exist then we are getting nowhere IMO. I'd like to see documentation from the funds themselves as to what their structure is, what companies contribute and how many retirees to active employees there are. This could be another reason the payout is so high if true is the ratio for active/retired if heavily weighted to the active employee side. Flip flop the ratio like what CS has and then run the numbers and see what you get. I hope I'm wrong as this would give us some hope in the CS world but I'm not holding my breath.

    I have no loyality to UPS, IBT, APWA or anything else. My only loyality is to my family and myself and whatever plan gives me the best shot at that for the longterm is what I will go with. This is also another reason why I'd rather be given the money up front and then I'd be responsible to seeing that it got placed aside for my retirement which takes everyone except myself out of the equation so if some thing goes wrong it's no one's fault but mine. If I'm gonna be at someone's mercy and peril I can think of no one better than myself. Sorry OK2BC but all jokes aside, I don't trust you either but it was a fun moment. BTW, you shouldn't trust me either.

    You know, now that I think about it if the $7k per month is so easy then why can't APWA just tell us the formula, give us our own money and we invest it following that formula, save on the management fees and wal-la! Easy Street right?
  3. wkmac

    wkmac Guest

    Due to legal restrictions Mr.Skillman is unable to talk in depth on certain issues at this time....

    So are you saying he and others can draft up a pension plan but they can't say how or what shape an infrastructure would take?

    You aren't honestly expecting me to believe that are you? IMO that's real weak!
  4. ok2bclever

    ok2bclever Guest

    "I'm not willing to believe that even UPS would use the US Congress to spread a lie"

    Why not, everyone else does.

    Of course, it isn't usually referred to as lying, but just "politics".

    You just confidently state a bunch of statistics, many times they have to be a bit slanted and omit critical information, but hey, (it's even better if you footnote references) then state what it was you want people to believe and say the statistics support and prove your point and Whalla, Politics!

    There doesn't have to be any truth, reality or even practicality to it and it is usually accepted to some degree.

    "Lying" is such a harsh word.

    Plus, as I mentioned earlier, every investment guru can show you a plan or formula where he could have made you rich using past statistics.

    It's the same basic thing and just as useful.

    On a more personal and serious issue:

    Awww darn, my hopes are dashed again!

    Ok, I guess it's back to the Lotto investment theory.
  5. ups79

    ups79 Guest

    mac:don't be picking on sawman now, he and others get very pissed off if anything negative is said.
  6. ezrider

    ezrider Guest

    <font color="0000ff">It may be these funds APWA can point to and say if these guys can do it then why have they not done it for you</font>

    Wkmac I don't disagree with you regarding this and most any other things here. There's certainly nothing wrong with pointing to successful plans to show hourlies that there's evidence that success can be attained. All I'm saying is APWA reps should leave it at that and not try to entice hourlies with some mirage of a pot of gold monthly benefit that increases to double what most can hope to salvage now if they are lucky. There's just no way any bargaining agent can go into the 2008 talks with the goal being to get the company to not only bail the pensions out but double the payout on top of that after not only resisting thier efforts to evade the current mess in '97 but allowing IBT to give them the finger in public for two weeks. UPS's position likely will be "We tried to tell you then, and you shouldn't have been ****ting where you eat."

    As for McDevitt's testimony, I'm sure he didn't walk in there with the idea of "Someday with the help of Congress, my company can double the retirement benefits of our unionized employees." The more likely agenda was to build the case for someday allowing the company to exit the plans at terms much more favorable to them than they currently are and nothing more. Just because he didn't necessarily lie under oath doesn't mean he told the whole truth about what the company's intentions are. I'd be looking for what he didn't say as well as what he did at this stage.

    I too think an ideal situation for me would also be to just get the money up front in the form of 401k money and let me take it from there. If it helped the company get away from having to throw more money at another sinking ship like PBGC all the better it could be for all at the company. The big question would be would the majority of our co-horts support the idea and that I don't know for sure, but they might if CSPF and others were forced to open the books and they saw just where thier money that was entrusted to the "profesionals" was really going.

    The only thing we may not view along the same line is the issue of individual's interests vs. the overall good of the workforce. You may shake your head in disbelief but I do still feel loyalty to UPS and especially to workers like yourself and others who lobbied for things such as the 401k that I was fortunate to begin participation in very early into my employment here. I may not like everything I see coming from the high levels but I'm greatful that I was with a company that was run well enough to survive a strike that could have put a not-so-well-run company out of business. I even still feel loyalty to many managers who I know had to absorb a load of change in thier jobs as a result of that strike. They could have easily turned bitter given the circumstances but were big enough not to hold me responsible personally and I'm a better employee today for it.

    Just because I'm fortunate enough not to be trapped in CSPF doesn't mean the situation doesn't affect me. If it gets worse, it has ramifications for all the employees no matter where they are. That's why I'd be willing to make the tough choices now. If taking a pay freeze enabled the short-timers in CS to retire comfortably now rather than having to risk being confined to a wheelchair in less than 10 years then I'll do it. The few guys we have in my building that are in thier 50's are out often months out of the year anyway on injury. I don't see that trend changing and if it grows in proportion to increases in stops per-driver and weight limits then it reaches the point of diminishing returns for the company. This isn't a job that someone can do for 30 to 35 years anymore. Things are changing and I think the best way to address changes is to admit that there need to be changes.

    A UPSers only union found on the premise of serving the direct interests of the workers and the company may be a noble ideal in origin. But for it to ever get past IBT much less hold up in bargaining sessions against the company, it's leaders and the members who pick them will have to put being realistic for the sake of all ahead of being idealistic for the sake of the few. We let IBT and maybe others deny us the facts many times over and it's caught up. We can't afford to do it again. There's no walking out on reality. It always will be there. Lets deal with it now or it may deal us out later.
  7. wkmac

    wkmac Guest

    Overall I don't disagree with what you say except many on the level of small details but overall good points. I agree with your concern over the large jump from what we presently get to what AWPA is suggesting is possible. I'd be willing to accept the same levels of what we were getting prior to the 03' cuts in the CS plan for example and ditch all the work restrictions. Also if the higher levels are really possible and then only taking what the 03' levels were at CS is leaves room in the future to not only make the pension fund stronger but may even leave room for cost of living adjustments fom time to time that is not there now. I could even accept the post 03' CS levels if they would just ditch all the work restrictions for any under the age of 62'. CS does relax many restrictions for employees who chose to retire after age 62.

    In many cases I don't think it's any issue of did the person testifying lie but it more of a case of what ez pointed out above. Sadly what our mom &amp; dads taught us as being a lie is true but our society today has allowed us to twist and omit certain facts and based on what we were taught as kids it's a lie but in society is still allowed to be considered the truth. IMO this is what happens when we turn our society's direction over to the legal community as the MO is to reduce your liability at all costs for one and spin the promises that never deliver but just make you think they do. Social Security is one good example in that the system itself could be a good system just as it is if we had just and honest people in power overseeing it.

    This not aimed at either ez or ok but a general comment but I only like the idea of privatizing only because I don't trust the people overseeing it but even their plans I'm sure keep their fingers in the pot in some way and I know all the truth isn't being told. Just go back to the 1935' US Supreme Court and read the case of Railroad Retirement Board vs. Alton R. Co. and then move to 1937' and read Helvering vs Davis and Charles C. Steward Mach. Co. vs Davis where the issue of Social Security is challanged and them move forward in history reading the cases. We are not being told the truth and yes OK both sides of power are lying or better yet they are omitting the facts of just what SS really is. Because of this I'm all for privatizing this as much as possible but even in this effort their motives are not truly genuine. Hell even many of those now opposing privatization in Congress were in fact preaching this very line back in 98' but where were the ones who now preach this effort? They were quite because it wasn't their idea to make their party look good just as now those who oppose are doing such because their party won't get the credit even though 7 years ago they were suggesting the very same thing as a long term fix. They will never truly give this up without some payoff for them. Same holds true in my beliefs with the pension. Both the company and union together have had their chances to run this show and to step forth and open the complete books to the light of day for all to see but they haven't so I don't trust them either and therefore my belief that in the end the only one we can really trust is ourselves with our money. Although I've liked this position for years of the individual employee getting the money directly and then directing it's investment for the future I came to be firmly entrenched in it after seeing what was done with our pension in 1997' and no matter what I will never change that belief. I will however be forced to accept what the larger massives decide at UPS and if I just can't accept this I can and will if need be just quit and walk away. I can't get what I really want and I know this but what I trying to do is seek a plan out that at the most limits my exposure to trouble. One risk I believe we are subjected to is work restrictions as they can cut our benefits like they have and we now are forced in some cases to modify our plans as we are at their mercy. There is no perfect plan as all have risks to varying degrees and you can really screw yourself up if you get to aggressive especially at the wrong time. Just looking to limit that subjugation as much as I can based on what I see and know.

    Just something else that came to mind for OK2BC to chew around and throw out some thought on. I take from your previous comments that you believe that what we pay in over the years is kinda set aside and invested and that money alone with it's return pays our retirement completely. Now maybe that's over simplified as there are some variables but it makes the point for what I'm about to suggest. You should be all for the idea of a buffet style retirement plan that includes a self managed system to choose from. I could take my money and it's returns out of the current plan and roll it into my 401k for example and then continue to take future payroll deductions for the retirement only portions and place into this new self managed account and based on what I understand you are saying it will have absolutely no impact on your's or any other retirement plan. Having a buffet system would force plans like CS to do an excellent job because if not at any moment we could remove our funds to either another plan of one we self manage. Taken on a bigger scale we UPSers collectively based again on what I believe you are saying could withdraw all our monies and their returns and walk away to either individual accounts or form a new system collectively. Am I understanding your position based on past statements correctly and if so what do you think about this buffet style idea? It does cover the best of both worlds so to speak IMO.
  8. ok2bclever

    ok2bclever Guest

    No, that is not what I believe.

    I think perhaps that should be closer to the reality, but that is not the situation.

    Clearly, the amount contributed plus using a conservative compounded interest rate should be what the promised benefit level should be based on, but in truth the benefit level is based on more of a politician type promise.

    Long ago it was basically based on the former and then it was doubled as the Teamsters saw this huge growth of young UPS employees (read increased and increasing contributions)who wouldn't be retiring for decades so they doubled the promised retirement benefit.

    Then we had the huge pension tug-a-war where UPS upped the ante by fifty percent and the Teamsters had to match it or lose the tug-a-war.

    So we ended up with a great promise that was not financially sustainable.

    What we currently have is a defined benefit plan where you can plan your future knowing how much you are going to get a month. (this is moving from a reality to theory as the financial stability of the fund dwindles).

    What you are describing is exactly what corporate American is pushing and moving to and UPS would love to switch to which is a defined contribution plan.

    They contribute x amount and you live or die with it as you wish.

    As an independent minded individual I know you favor that type, but in truth it won't and doesn't work well for the average Joe.

    I don't support a "smorgasborg" that helps UPS dodge the promise I worked under for the last couple of decades.

    Currently, UPS still has major obligations to try to keep our pension promises alive.

    True they are trying to get out from under these obligations and they have a decent chance in the current company favorable environment of doing so, but I am not in favor of helping them do so.

    Back to the lie or whatever:

    Looking for facts that would substantiate the acuracy or inacuracy of McDevitt's claims I came across an issue by TDU regarding the statements.

    I don't agree with TDU objectives much as they primarily seem to just be bringing Hoffa down and not actually helping or representing us workers, but the stats seem sound.

    They pointed out that UPS based their claims on going back thirty years of contributions and using a "conservative" 7.5% interest rate, BUT they used todays current and highest contribution rate of $5/hour!

    Thirty years ago it was only 48 cents, twenty years ago it was only $1.37 and ten years ago it was $2.50.

    Obviously the math would end up very different than using the figures UPS erroneously used.

    TDU states it would come out to $2,394 per month, considerably less than the 3,000 we were promised just a couple of years ago, let alone the $5,833 a month figure UPS used or the $7000 one we have heard thrown around here.

    Sigh, I call that a lie.

    Don't hold your breath about the US Government holding UPS in contempt or charging them with perjury anytime soon though.
  9. ezrider

    ezrider Guest

    Obviously the math would end up very different than using the figures UPS erroneously used.

    I believe "dubya" would refer to the practice as using "fuzzy math"
  10. wkmac

    wkmac Guest

    Thanks for clearing that up. I'll respond another time to some of your other thoughts which in some case I agree and in others I'd offer a different perspective. Be good and above all else:

  11. my2cents

    my2cents Guest

    To further expand on the Congressional Research Report provided on this thread, calculations were performed using the same criteria for the New England Fund. Table 2 is found on page CRS-11 in the text, Table 3 on CRS-12 and Table 4 on CRS-13. Attached is the data, which was mined from Form 5500. Highlighted data can be found for the Western Conference of Teamsters, Central States Pension Fund and the New England Fund. This supplemental data is attached so one can learn how to perform the calculations for oneself. A worthy exercise and a useful purpose for those Form 5500's.