“Vote No” Contract Unity Signs UPS

Order Vote No signs to mobilize members to vote to reject contract givebacks at UPS.

UPS is making $6 billion in profits. But the proposed contract is full of givebacks. This deal paves the way for five more years of harassment, excessive overtime, subcontracting, and low-part-time wages–unless we stop it!

We can send UPS and the Hoffa administration back to the negotiating table to fix this broken deal. But that will only happen if we inform the members and Vote No on the proposed contract. Are you ready to do your part?

UPS Teamsters United has printed up new Vote No contract signs. Will you help reach out to UPSers and spread the word that it’s time to get ready to Vote No?

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UPS Has 260,000 Union Workers and They’ve Just Authorized a Strike

By BloombergJune 6, 2018
United Parcel Service (ups) workers authorized their union to call what would be the first strike since 1997, giving negotiators more leverage in talks to replace a labor contract that expires at the end of July.

Of the workers from the package unit who voted, 93% favored the authorization and 91% of UPS freight employees agreed to the measure, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters announced on a webcast. The rate of voter participation wasn’t provided. A strike authorization is common during negotiations to put pressure on the company, said UPS spokesman Glenn Zaccara. Even with that, the union can’t go on strike until after the current contract expires on July 31.

“UPS is confident in our ability to reach an agreement that meets the needs of our employees and the business,” Zaccara said.  The labor talks are proceeding amid discussions on pay and work schedules, as UPS looks to increase warehouse automation to keep up with surging demand from e-commerce shipments. The union has proposed increasing the part-time starting wage as well as improving the overall pay structure, according to a statement on its website. It’s also pushing the courier to increase contributions to health and welfare and pension funds.

Union leaders urged support for strike authorization in a letter dated May 15 and signed by James P. Hoffa, general president of the Teamsters, and Denis Taylor, co-chair of the union’s UPS National Negotiating Committee. The last time negotiations broke down was in 1997 when drivers went on strike for less than three weeks before terms were reached.

“Nobody wants a strike. It hurts the company and it hurts members,” they said in the letter. “However, the ability to strike is necessary in order to ensure a timely and positive conclusion to negotiations. We have to show that we’re not afraid of striking.”

Deal Prospects
UPS declined 0.1% to $116.81 in New York. The shares have lost 2% this year, compared with the 1.1% decline of a Standard & Poor’s index of industrial companies and an advance of almost 1% for FedEx Corp.

Voting began in the middle of last month and concluded June 3. About 260,000 UPS workers are employed under a national master agreement with the union, the company said.

UPS and the Teamsters already have reached tentative agreements on a “wide variety of non-economic issues,” Zaccara said.

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Pension Grievance Nets $120,000 From UPS For Two Local 162 Members

Teamsters Local 162 members George Meadows and Ken Lopez both honorably served lengthy tours of duty in the Army including service in Iraq while employed at UPS. They returned from active duty in 2009 and both received promotions to full-time package driving jobs and are now full-time feeder drivers at the UPS facility in Portland, Oregon.

However, after a recent discussion with Local 162 feeder shop steward Walt Lawson, Meadows was advised to contact the pension office to make sure that UPS made the required pension contributions for his term of military service. Lawson also advised Meadows to contact Local 162 President Mark Davison if the pension contributions had in fact not been made. In Portland, Teamsters at UPS are covered by the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Trust.
Unfortunately, the appropriate payments to both Meadows’ pension had not been made. A grievance was filed by Meadows and processed by Local 162 and Davison. Meadows then spread the word to fellow military veteran Ken Lopez and encouraged him to also call the pension office. It was discovered that UPS had also not made pension contributions on Lopez’s behalf and he also filed a grievance at Local 162. Ultimately, it was found that UPS had failed to properly apply the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) rule with regard to return to work and pension rights in both cases.
USERRA was signed into law in 1994 by President Clinton. The law grants reemployment and benefits rights to any member of the uniformed services. This includes the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Reserves, Army and Air National Guards.
Key rights under USERRA include protecting an employee’s job while serving in the military and the payment of pension contributions for an employee’s period of military service upon their return to work. For Teamsters working at UPS the payment, of pension contributions is a significant issue as the hourly rates negotiated by the union into the pension plans are the highest in the transportation industry.
The end result of Local 162’s grievances on behalf of the members has amounted to pension contributions in excess of $120,000 to the Western Conference Pension Trust. These contributions grant Meadows and Lopez not only a higher monthly pension check but also the ability to retire several years sooner.

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Teamsters pension plan warns thousands of beneficiaries that the checks may get smaller

Len Boselovic
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
6:45 AM
Oct 23, 2017

What is Bill Lickert’s reward for a lifetime of looking out for truck drivers, municipal employees, hospital workers and thousands of others covered by the beleaguered Western Pennsylvania Teamsters and Employers Pension Fund?

It’s being the person whom thousands of workers and retirees covered by the severely underfunded pension plan call to vent their anger and frustration as they wrap their heads around the idea that their monthly pension checks could be significantly cut.

The Western Pennsylvania Teamsters fund — which has about 48 cents for every $1 in benefits it owes to retirees and workers — notified participants in April that it is considering cutting benefits in order to insure that the fund doesn’t become insolvent. The plan is expected to pay out nearly $129 million in benefits this year but will collect only about $54 million in contributions.

If the current level of benefits is maintained, the fund is projected to run out of money in 2028.

While trustees of the pension fund decide how much to cut benefits, they appointed Mr. Lickert, a 69-year-old retired truck driver and former president of Teamsters Local 205, to represent more than 17,000 retirees currently receiving benefits, former workers who haven’t started drawing benefits yet, and beneficiaries of deceased retirees.

Mr. Lickert said he does not represent another 4,200 workers covered by the fund who are still on the job.

Employees of UPS and Giant Eagle are among those covered by the plan.

Since Mr. Lickert’s appointment, he has heard an earful, fielding as many as 90 calls a day from outraged retirees.

“It’s down to about seven or eight a day,” said Mr. Lickert, who retired in 2011. “I have the same frustration. I was told when I retired, ‘Don’t worry. Your pension is secure.’”

‘I’m going to be cut the same as everyone else,” he added.

Mr. Lickert, whose father was president of Local 205 for more than three decades, isn’t paid for the thankless task. But the pension fund is paying for him to hire a lawyer and an actuary to analyze whatever benefit reduction proposal the trustees suggest. Only the trustees, not Mr. Lickert, will vote on the proposal.

“Bill isn’t taking money from anybody. He’s a shoulder to cry on,” said Jason Mettley, the Meyer, Unkovic & Scott attorney Mr. Lickert hired.

Thousands of other people covered by so-called multiemployer pension plans in the U.S. have already had their benefits slashed or could have them reduced in the future.

The cuts were made possible by 2014 legislation that was rushed through Congress with little debate. The law was designed to prevent the troubled plans from bankrupting the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the federal agency that insures the pension benefits of nearly 40 million Americans covered by almost 24,000 private sector pension plans.

Those protected by the PBGC include about 10 million workers and retirees in multiemployer plans, which were created by collective bargaining agreements. The plans generally cover workers who are in the same industry or who are represented by the same labor union, such as the Teamsters or the United Mine Workers. Collective bargaining agreements determine how much companies contribute to the plans.

Like pension funds that cover only workers at a specific company, multiemployer plans were damaged by the bear markets that followed the dot.com bubble and the 2008 financial crisis.

UPS workers are among those covered by the Western Pennsylvania Teamsters and Employers Pension Fund. (Associated Press file photo)
But they were also hurt because employer funding of multiemployer plans is based on the number of active workers and how much work they do.

Recession-induced layoffs slammed many multiemployer plans. Should the teetering plans of the Central States Teamsters and the UMW go under, it would deplete the PBGC fund that ensures multiemployer plans.

The PBGC projects that fund will be exhausted in 2025, three years before the Western Pennsylvania Teamsters fund is expected to go under.

If that happens, “Their safety net essentially goes away,” said Mark Johnson, a Grapevine, Texas, pension consultant.

The fact that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. may not be there to pay at least a portion of their pensions weighs on the minds of the people Mr. Lickert represents.

“I think, after a while, people will realize that if we don’t do something, there’s going to be nothing left,” he said.

The 2014 legislation requires troubled multiemployer plans to submit benefit reduction plans to the U.S. Treasury for approval. So far, 15 funds have submitted proposals, including four that submitted a second plan after withdrawing their first proposal.

Only three proposals — covering iron workers in northeastern Ohio, furniture workers and New York Teamsters — have been approved.

Benefit cuts for those workers and retirees varied. Some saw their monthly check reduced by about 13 percent, while others saw their benefits reduced by as much as 60 percent, according to the Pension Rights Center, a privately funded organization that promotes retirement security.

Treasury has rejected five proposals, largely because they relied on too-optimistic financial assumptions for rescuing the plan. For example, the Central States Teamsters plan assumed that assets in the pension fund would earn 7.5 percent annually — an unrealistic rate of return according to most pension consultants.

“Treasury has been pretty consistent in how they’ve handled them,” said John Lowell, an actuary with October Three in Woodstock, Ga.

Mr. Lickert and Mr. Mettley speculate that trustees for the Western Pennsylvania Teamsters fund will submit their proposal to Treasury no later than the first quarter of next year.

If Treasury approves it, benefits could be cut late next year. Under the 2014 law, retirees over 80 would be exempt from the cuts and those between 75 and 79 would receive smaller reductions than younger retirees.

“I have no idea how much it’s going to be cut,” Mr. Lickert said.

He encouraged those who want more information to visit the website he has set up: www.wpatrr.com, or email him at bill@wpatrr.com, or call 724-382-4956.

“I’m here almost every day,” he said. “I’m trying to be straightforward and honest with people as best as I can.”

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