Teamster benefits cuts under consideration

Discussion in 'The Archives' started by tdu, Oct 27, 2003.

  1. tdu

    tdu Guest

    Fund Considers More Attacks on Benefits:
    More Cuts Ahead?

    In a publication sent only to Teamster leaders the Central States Fund reported that they are considering cuts to Teamster members benefits. These cuts would be a huge financial blow to Teamster families. Any cuts would also betray the International Unions promises to us during contract bargaining that our benefits for Teamsters at UPS and in freight and carhaul would be maintained and protected.

    The list of potential cuts includes:

    Cutting medical benefits or services.

    Cutting accruals to the pension plan.

    Instituting higher co-pays and deductibles.

    Further increasing the amount paid by retirees for medical coverage.

    Implementing and boosting co-pays on prescriptions.

    The fund refers to these attacks on benefits as responsible and reasonable cost sharing. Have your local officers relayed the news of this threat to the members? Although local officers were given this news in the FundsFocus bulletin earlier this summer few have brought it to the attention of members or retirees. Nor has the fund communicated with participants about their plans.

    The news blackout on the threatened cuts underlines the need for greater accountability on the part of the fund and the union trustees on the fund.
  2. tdu

    tdu Guest

    Health Benefits Cut at UPS, Freight, Carhaul Teamsters

    Did they lie to sell a contract?

    We kept our strong health care with no increased cost to the members.
    James Hoffa, Feb. 6, 2003, IBT Bulletin on Freight Contract Settlement

    Strong health care, with no increased cost to members. That exact same claim was made when the UPS contract was voted on a year ago, and when the freight and carhaul contracts were voted on a few months ago.

    It sounded good. The contracts were approved. But for over 100,000 Teamsters, it was a lie.

    As that press release was being prepared by Hoffas staff, other Hoffa staffers who are trustees of the Western Teamsters Welfare Trust were planning a major cut in benefits for every freight and carhaul Teamster in the West. And the International officials who are union trustees of the Central States Health and Welfare Fund were planning the same for UPS, freight and carhaul Teamsters in the Midwest and South.

    Teamsters were promised, in writing, five years of health benefits without extra costs and without cuts in benefits. For many Teamsters that promise lasted only a few months.

    Western Health Benefits Cut
    In the West, freight and carhaul Teamsters had big benefit cuts go into effect on Sept. 1. Thats three months into the carhaul contract and five months into the freight contract. Instead of no annual deductible, its now $200 per person (not per family); the out-of-pocket annual max went from zero to $6,000 per family, or $15,000 per family if you go out of network; co-pays for prescriptions, emergency room care, and physician visits went way up; hospitalization and lab co-pays went from zero to 20 percent, and 40 percent if you go out of network.

    The average Teamster family is going to lose thousands of dollars in medical bills. Does that sound like the promise: no increased cost to the members?

    Central States Cuts Due Soon
    The same kinds of cuts are soon to hit in the Central States Health and Welfare Fund, which covers most (though not all) UPS, freight, and carhaul Teamsters in the Midwest and South. The fund has not named the cuts yet, but has issued bulletins threatening benefit changes and attempting to soften people up for what is to come.

    Central States is likely to slap retirees again with higher monthly premium costs, and may make it harder to get retiree coverage at all.

    The big reason given is the stock market decline of 2000-2002. But does that make sense? These three contracts were signed in the past year, and the stock market has actually gone up 16 percent in the first eight months of 2003.

    Some Teamsters ProtectedWhy Not All?
    UPS Teamsters in the West, and some other Teamsters in the East as well, are not suffering these cuts. Why?

    The Western Region UPS Supplement contains a maintenance of benefits clause, something that should be in the contract nationally but is not. This means UPS must maintain benefits and bears the burden of making sure that happens.

    This clause also means that over $2 more per hour for every UPS Teamster will go into the pension fund by the end of the contract, because pension money cannot be diverted to the health and welfare fund.

    This valuable clause provides real protection for Teamsters, and if it had been extended to other areas and contracts, new cuts could have been avoided.

    Some Teamsters Have No Worries
    If you look at the $100,000 club, you will see the names of some Teamsters who have no health and welfare worries at all. They have a Cadillac plan, and it covers them and their families in retirement also, at no cost to them. They work for the International Union, and most of the union trustees who make the decisions on health benefit cuts for our families are in this very group.

    When Tom L ran for General President in our last Teamster election, he stated that James Hoffa liked to talk tough, settle short, and declare victory. Look at what is happening to Teamster benefits, then ask yourself if brother Leedham was right.
  3. wkmac

    wkmac Guest

    Now the actions or I should say the over-reactions of UPS Teamsters is now coming home to roost. 1997' will become a year of regret in the end because we had a real chance to secure a better future and we lost it. I'm not saying going with UPS was the answer per say but we had a chance as members to have both the company and union sit in front of us and propose the best offers that benefited us and we blew it. I guess the best we can do now is start saving and maintain good health. We'll probably need it in order to work until we're dead.

    All Teamsters should now standup and immediately demand the removal of all retirement work restrictions or we should remove all IBT leadership and that includes the so-called TDU types around the country as well. Clean house completely and start fresh with a fresh approach to labor relations. Time to leave the 19th century and enter the 21st. JMO.
  4. tieguy

    tieguy Guest

    Many benifit plans have been hurt by economic conditions. I hardly think this problem is endemic to the teamster plan. TDU this post reeks of cheap political opportunism.
  5. dannyboy

    dannyboy Guest

    While I too smell it, the fact that Hoffa lied is a suprise to most of you?

    Currently there are efforts underway to sign up 100% of the current employees at UPS. And while I see both the company view and the teamster view, there is the employee view that also must figure in.

    I watched as the recruiter pounded the part timers with slogans of if you can afford a big mac and a coke a week, you can afford to belong to the union.

    Problem is he is too focused on his agenda to get a grip on reality. Since the cut a whole sort from our building, there are more than 30 parttimers laid off. (Notice there are no sups laid off, they were given jobs in other areas of the building.)

    If they are lucky, some might work one day a week, for 3.5 hours. For that he will gross 28.00. Taxes take at least 7-8, the cost of getting there for some is hard cause some live 50 miles from the center, one way.

    My question is how is he gonna afford a big mac and coke, much less $8.00 a week in dues on this.

    These guys want to work, and are very hard workers. But the way the union is treating them, well when they get into full time positions, they will remember and more than likely not even think about joining then.

  6. ja7618

    ja7618 Guest

    wkmac you are so right in your statement about the 97 contract, we had our chance and like you I'm afraid we will not get another one. I have never trusted to teamsters with our benfits and pension. I have just 6 more yrs and had hoped to retire and live a much easier life, jumping on and off the old car is getting to my knees
  7. wkmac

    wkmac Guest

    Gee Tie, when do his post not reek of political opportunism.[​IMG]

    You are correct but IMO the union has sold this belief that they, the union, are the only entity out there that we members can trust or ever trust and no matter what happens we will never suffer, be hurt or harmed in any way as long as we continue to do so and never question. Hoffa asked us for a strike authorization which for the record I voted no on but could in no way give us any specifics as to why this approach was even needed to begin with.

    You and I know that promises of nothing will ever change and will only get better regardless of who makes it are very unrealistic. No one can ever judge what will happen in the future and I'm not upset that the various Temaster plans may have to reduce benefits or increase co-pays but what ticks me off is this dogmatic, collectivist attitude that it is only through us, the union, that salvation is achieved. UPS is by no means a perfect angel "BUT" they ain't the evil devil either. UPS Teamsters have carried this union for many years now and it's time the IBT sat down with UPS and provided a plan that pays us, the UPS Teamsters, well and at the same time don't drain UPS to pay for other companies who either don't exist or don't carry the load for their people. We work our :censored2: off day in and day out to build this global dynamo and I'm proud of what we've done but why should we in some respects support the very competition that could take our jobs and these outfits are given specials breaks by the union to in a sense have a competitive edge because those dollars not paid to provide to their employees is money to either invest and build their company or post earnings to help the fatcats in higher stock or bigger dividend checks while their workers are compensated by our sweat and effort.

    IMO, if UPS didn't have to pay for everyone else they could give us a super retirement and save money all at the same time. Everyone wins and what is so wrong with that? IMO I would rather have Hoffa because I already don't trust him and his crew so I stay on edge but with the TDU types, and I use to be a TDU supporter in the 80's, they say, "we're just like you, a good working guy and we'll look after you and get you good contracts and never let you down." 2 words dip stick, RON CAREY! Need I say more. I truly believe we can have a great and growing union where the members prosper and so do the companies who employs the members but in order to do so the Horse and Buggy days of union ways must go bye-bye!

    First step into the 21st century? Tell UPS we'll give them a no-strike clause and that all matters if unresolved through the contract negociations and/or grievance process will be settled by an independant arbitration board but what are they willing to give us in return for this Holy Grail? It will cost them but if done right, and it will take someone smarter than a bunch of truck drivers to set it up, we can have a truly fair arbitration system in which everyone wins. No strike! Where is FedEx's leverage now? Want volume? Want advancement opportunities? Part Timers want driver jobs? Feeder Drivers want more runs especially mileage runs? A great retirement with no employment restrictions? Just something to think about!

    To my fellow union members, let's start thinking outside the box and discussing ideas. By doing so we may find a solution that our so-called leadership has yet to even grasp much less even consider.

    Sorry, just venting and not at you Tie.
  8. dannyboy

    dannyboy Guest

    You know we ARE largeenough to have our own union[​IMG]

    Let the teamsters figure out a way to support all those "has beens" without UPS. For all the talk that UPS was lying about things over the last two contracts, come to find out, now even the teamsters are saying the same thing.

    And when you NEED somebody like the teamsters NEED UPS, how can they really make us think that they have gotten a good contract? UPS has and will call the shots at the IBT as long as UPS money floats all the different retirement programs that have no other real income.


    (Message edited by dannyboy on October 28, 2003)
  9. wkmac

    wkmac Guest

    "You know we ARE largeenough to have our own union"

    This is true dannyboy and if the Teamsters keep going the current route they will spell their own doom and this may become our only option. Many of those folks who signed up at the gate membership drives are now screaming for withdrawal cards. Many of these kids had no clue what they were signing up for and I wonder just how clear everything was explained during the process. As a steward I sign up a few people a month but I'm very clear as to all the details including the dues and have not had one person come back asking for a withdrawal card. The local may have gotten a short time windfall from all this influx of membership but in the longhaul what good does it do? This is another reason the IBT needs to change. If the union did a better job it would attract members rather than the current situation of only attracting those whose work records are in need of protection.
    Most of my meetings have to do with folks either not coming to work or late on a continuos basis. I try and tell the little knuckleheads that 90% of the job is just getting here and the rest is downhill but they just won't listen. Lucky for many that our Dist. Labor Relations manager doesn't have any backbone because there have been some who should have been sent packing but they are given another chance. No worrys, they'll screw up and be back again! Maybe he thinks the repeat business will justify his job! [​IMG]
  10. parttimejon

    parttimejon Guest

    its ok...i'll probably not go full time until i'm 30 then retire at 60 and die at 65. life sucks. i'll deal with it.
  11. ezrider

    ezrider Guest

    Wkmac I had about 5 solid months in when the '97 strike seemingly rocked my core views on the company/union co-existence that you,Dannyboy,Tieguy and most others on these boards experience up close everyday in some shape or form.I was on the fence as far as the "last,best & final offer" was concerned and couldn't figure out why if UPS was so concerned about the precarious state of the multi-employer pension funds,why did they wait until July 31st to start talking to drivers about where the company was coming from on the issue?

    I was taking classes at nite to work towards my degree at the time so I asked some of my bussiness professors what they thought and I suddenly found myself in a minority of one.All five of the teachers I talked with said if they were the company,that they would pay the exit fees and bid the multi-employer plans goodbye.One told me that the way that the so-called Taft/Hartley plans were set up,a company like UPS would be forced to foot the bill when a weaker company in the same fund stopped making contributions.

    I didn't want to believe it,but a year later an article in the Sept.14th,1998 WSJ confirmed what my teachers were telling me.While I still don't know if I would have voted for "Last,Best,Finest" I do think rank and file members at the very least should have had the chance to vote on it.

    Did we punt away our one chance in '97?I don't know that for sure but we can all see that the role we play and how we are dispatched has changed since then.There will come a day where the company is recognized more for it's technology rather than the driver and that was probably going to happen anyway regardless of the strike.

    Dannyboy I'm starting to think that's one hell of an idea.I never thought of the work we do to be similar to other companies that have Teamsters anyway.I doubt you or I would live to see it though.The hardest thing about it would be to change people's minds,sadly.
  12. dannyboy

    dannyboy Guest

    Listen to the teachers that are not so liberal as to screw the truth. The did tell you the truth.

    I think that over the next few years you will see more and more the problems with the union plans. By the time the next contract comes along, the buy out will be less, maybe MUCH less, and that is whenUPS will take the plunge. OR maybe not, it might just wait it out and let all those teamsters that worked for out of business companies die off, then the buy out will be next to zero.

    Intresting fact that the private sector union jobs are a dying. If it were not for the gooberment unions, unions in this country would be a joke. UPS, the car makers, and very few others are doing well. Most other union business's are dying on the vine, or moving overseas.

    Of course then there are all the baby bells that are union. But within 5 years less than 10% of all households will have a home based phone, so the sucking sound you hear is the vast majority of the consumers that are walking to cell phone companies where the options are better, service is faster, and the cost is about the same. WHat will happen to all those union jobs then?

    I hope we never get to that point.

  13. archibald

    archibald Guest

    I think now is the time to change the rule that once you retire you cannot work again, if you do 25 at brown you have earned your pension, what you do from then on is your concern! Things change from contract to contract, the folks that retire should not be effected. I am 20 years in and I am disgusted with the prospects of the future but I need the benefits. If I do get out and start over I hope I have not wasted 20 years of my life to only face restrictions on what I can and can not do in my later years!The strike tore me in half but I would not cross a picket line, noone here in LR did except 1 fulltimer, but I wonder how much the unoin cares about that these days? If the actions of the teamsters hurts the company and gives the "non-union" competitors an edge then who wins? We need to see the big picture more and act on our own so we all win. Thats my 2 cents, I hope people higher than me are listening, I have had numerous chances to go into managment but I was not sure I could deal with the attitude of the "new" upser's to survive, I am old school and cannot babysit. god bless ups this peak because here we are not ready or prepared and it is going to be rough!! arch.[​IMG]
  14. wkmac

    wkmac Guest

    I to was upset the company waited until July 31st but let me throw out a couple of possible scenarios.
    1)Company underestimated Carey and at 5 till midnight realize he was taking us out. As a last ditch effort they threw out this proposal in the hopes it would disrupt the strike.
    2)This was company proposal all along at the table and Carey was set from day one on taking us out no matter what. Company honored the agreement to no release negociation details and when it became obvious what was about to happen the company came directly to us in the hopes of averting a strike.

    First off let me say this, IMHO UPS not Carey got us the pension increase after the 97' contract. UPS' proposal forced the hand of the union in that they had no choice. May of us had fought and clawed about pension increases and the trustees thumbed their nose but when UPS put that proposal out on July 31st the increase was set in stone. You can thank UPS for that one.

    Now, which one's the truth? 1, 2, neither, both, who knows for sure. Yes UPS is forced to foot the bill of weaker companies and some even compete against us. I know the so-called advantages of the multi-employer plans but I'm sorry I just don't agree with making UPS and in reality us as employees pay for other companies. What makes it even worse is the thought that some have suggested that many of these funds have been used in the past by Teamster officials as slush funds for their various purposes.

    Unions are dying because they use 19th century practices to address 21st century issues. The gov't can maintain this because the gov't has something that no other entity has and that is Force. You the taxpayer must support and take part in gov't programs and if you don't like it they can force you even at the point of a gun. Refuse hard enough and you'll see real fast what I say is true. I've got 20 plus years and I've never planned on social security and right now I'm starting to question just how much retirement will be there too.

    The solution to this complex situation is not exactly clear but I will say this about all you folks in this thread, even TDU. I'm encouraged to see the honest and open discussion on this issue and I think if we had and were allowed this type of open forum in the Halls across America I dare say a solution could not only be within reach but the union wouldn't have to spend time at Pedestrian Gates on membership drives because the employees would seek out the stewards to sign up. JMO.

    As for TDU, he's right about the problem and I applaud his efforts to inform this forum even though I do think there is some political motivation there. In fact I'm very grateful for his efforts but where he and I probably part company is on the solution.
  15. tieguy

    tieguy Guest

    It appears we should thank TdU for starting such a lively thread.
  16. brownmonster

    brownmonster Guest

    Who do you trust with your benefits? The company can change their mind and reduce your benefits and you can do nothing about it. If the Union starts doing the same you can vote people out of a job. The fact that Walmart can have 800,000 employees working for nothing and liking it shows why the Union movement is dying. People forget the only reason non-Union employees have any benefits is because they have to compete with union companies for employees. Do we have anyone to fight for workers rights if there are no unions. Would we have workers comp, paid vacations, health and pension, overtime pay, 40 hour work week, etc. Kind of like war veterans. These people in the past fought for the things we all take for granted. I am not a big fan of the Teamsters and their methods but it scares me to think of life at UPS without them. Not to be long winded but my wife works for a company that employs Teamsters in the warehouse and a non-union office. Recently let go of 20 office personel and cut profit sharing in half. The warehouse workers lost no workers and keep the same teamster pension. No contract, no protection. I've often thought about a UPS only union but can't imagine the logistics of trying to get it started. Just thinking out loud. Monster
  17. wkmac

    wkmac Guest

    All your benefits run contract cycle to contract cycle. If UPS wanted they in essence could cut your benefits either right now or at the end of the next contract cycle. Now the reaction of doing this could have results the company doesn't want but that is always in play. If UPS were successful do you think for one minute our various benefits funds could maintain the current status quo? Not on your life! I'm of the belief our benefits are never truly guaranteed whether with the union or the company but if we did go with a contractual negociated company plan here's one possible condition bound by contract. The company would be required to set aside with either an independant account or private company a said amount guaranteeing the level of funding decided on. At no point UPS could touch these funds no matter the condition or situation. In fact the fund could be set up in which UPS was prohibited from touching this account. If done right Federal law prohibits UPS from touching these funds. The horror stories you hear of company depleted pension funds are in many cases self funded funds but the language allows the company to use these funds if need be and in many cases it does. We could even build in cost of living increases to the fund that helps maintain lifestyles of retirees or you always draw a set percentage of current employees but at the same time we could also arrange something to benefit UPS. For example, if the fund is fully funded to meet all obligations of a given year including cost of living adjustments if those come into play, UPS is free to not contribute that year. Also language could be written to encourage the union and company to make the fund even profitable so that the employees, union and company all benefit. It's built in to encourage good management because the payoff for the company is too their bottomline. I could care less if the company and union is able to set up a profitable fund that never requires a single penny on their part to be paid in as long as what is set up meets the current and future needs of retirees and provides a good retirement for all. In fact if they can do that I'm all for it 100%. We all win! That's just one idea to throw all. There's plenty more I'm sure.

    Retirements are going bye-bye as a result of 401k's and IRA's. People like these because they control the process rather than a 3rd party and these are portable. I'd rather have this process anyway but I know I'm a army of one on this issue at UPS so I accept this won't happen. The simple fact is the current union way of retirement is losing money and it appears this trend will continue. UPS and other employers can and will only pay so much and that's that. It's time we UPS Teamsters started thinking about ourselves instead of the collective because the collective is dying and I see no effort of the part of leadership to try a new dynamic or paradigm shift in order to adjust to changing labor conditions. Business is going global but North American unions are buried in the 19th century and incapible of going global because they haven't even gasped the 20th century much less the 21st. JMO.

    Life is like a racecar, It's never a perfect world, we just have to build in adjustibility so when the varibles change we can adapt.
  18. tieguy

    tieguy Guest

    "Who do you trust with your benefits? The company can change their mind and reduce your benefits and you can do nothing about it."

    And the union can and is doing the same. There is a little more to it than changing your mind. Somewhere down the road we have to learn to get rid of this mindset. Certain parts of my overall health package are going up this year. I still have the choice of paying a little or paying a lot depending on how i set the plan up. My health plan has not been touched for many years. Clearly the economy of the last 3 years has had something to do with this years changes. I do not believe these changes are going in because some corporate excec wants to wallpaper his house with gold.
  19. wkmac

    wkmac Guest

    Uh, Tie, that would be gold and BROWN!
    Consider this your verbal warning!
  20. tieguy

    tieguy Guest