April 10, 2009: On January 1, 2008, UPS transferred some 44,000 full-time Teamsters out of the Central States Pension Fund, and into a new UPS-only pension plan.
Many members have questions about their benefits in the new fund. TDU consulted pension attorneys and experts to answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
Do you have a question or concern about your benefits in the new UPS plan? Call TDU at (313) 842-2600, or email us at info [at] tdu.org.
Q: If I retire and Central States fails to pay me their portion of my pension, will UPS guarantee me the difference?
Yes and No. If you retire by July 31, 2013, yes. If Central States fails to be able to pay its full portion, UPS will make up the difference to guarantee your pension.
But if you retire after that, all bets are off. It all depends on what is bargained in the 2013 contract. This illustrates a major problem: the UPS pull-out weakened the Central States Plan, but UPS Teamsters are still dependent on it for a large portion of their pension benefits.
You can be sure UPS management will make good use of this hammer in bargaining, to try to extract more concessions from the Teamster leadership.
Fortunately there is an IBT election in November 2011. Teamsters have a chance to vote out Hoffa and elect leaders who will protect the pensions of all Teamsters.
Q: When I retire, will I get two checks?
UPS pays your full pension until age 65. Once you are 65, you will get two checks. Central States and the UPS Plan will each pay a share, based on how many years you have in each plan. Your years prior to 2008 will be paid by Central States; your years beginning with 2008 will be paid by UPS.
Q: Can you count your part-time years toward early retirement?
Your part-time years can be counted in order to qualify for a 25 or 30 year early retirement, but will not count toward your benefit amount. For example, a Teamster with 25 full-time years and five part-time years qualifies for 30-and-out, but will get $2625 instead of $3,000 per month because the part-time pension pays very low benefits. (This is the same rule as previously, under Central States.) If you qualify for a part-time pension and a full-time pension, you will receive two checks, and three checks after you reach age 65.
Q: How do the benefits under the new UPS plan compare to other Teamster plans?
They compare unfavorably, and that situation is going to get worse by 2013. Benefits in the UPS plan are frozen for the life of the contract, whereas those in most other plans are increasing. For more information, see The Teamster Pension Divide at www.tdu.org/pensiondivide.
The UPS Plan also has no reciprocity with other pension plans. This means if you transfer into the plan from the West or East, you cannot add your pension credits together from the UPS Plan and another plan. It also means if you leave UPS and take a job at another Teamster company, you cannot add your years together in the two plans.
Q: Can UPS take over other Teamster plans?
UPS gave the International Union a letter agreeing not to try to take over more pension plans until the contract after next. However, that is no solid guarantee. If they see a weak leadership at the International Union, they may seek to take over more pensions.
We Do the Same Work But We Get Less
“Our pension is the lowest for any UPSers in the country. We do the same job, but in the end we get less.
“You can bet that if we can ask to improve our pensions in our next contract, UPS is going to put a steep price tag on it.
“I’m helping to put together a TDU meeting in Florence so that we can educate other members. UPS is already planning for the next contract. We should too.”James McLeod, UPS Local 71, Florence, S.C.