Teamsters for a Democratic Union
April 17, 2015: Teamsters and TDU members joined a national day of action to fight for living wages. UPS Teamsters in New York made a splash in joining the Fight for $15.
Workers and supporters in 120 cities rallied, protested, and went on strike on Wednesday, including Wal-Mart employees, fast food workers, homecare workers, and others.
UPS Teamsters in New York made a splash—joining the Fight for $15 with rallies at UPS buildings throughout the city. Political leaders joined UPS Teamsters, part-time and full-time, to say it’s time to “Raise the Wage.”
“I joined the fight so the future of our children is a thriving and secure one,” said Kioma Forero, a Local 804 steward and TDU International Steering Committee member, who helped organized the rallies at UPS.
“One of the reasons I’m involved is I understand what it’s like to struggle to make ends meet,” TDU member Darrel Tucker, 52, told In These Times.
"We're taking on part-time poverty at UPS by fighting for a living wage for all New Yorkers," Local 804 President Tim Sylvester told the Daily News.
More UPS Teamsters explain why they’re joining the Fight for $15 in this great video from Local 804.
Issues: Labor Movement
April 15, 2015: The Central States Pension Fund has launched a PR offensive to sell their fast-track pension cut plan as the only way to “rescue” members’ retirement. Teamster members and retirees are demanding a review by independent actuaries and consideration of alternative proposals before the cuts are imposed.
Central States Director Thomas Nyhan pitched his plan in a letter and national conference call, calling for deep cuts on a fast track with no amendments permitted.
Nyhan’s conference call was scripted from start-to-finish. The “question-and-answer” segment consisted of softball questions with pre-scripted answers.
“We just got a rehash of what we already know,” said Dave Scheidt, a retiree from Kansas City Local 41. “We’re paying Nyhan $662,000 a year for that? He needs to go.”
“Nyhan said that some will tell you that there are easier solutions, but there are not. He's right, that's the easiest way --just cut pensions!” said Mike Walden, chair of the Northeast Ohio Committee to Protect Pensions. “We need a real look at all the alternatives.”
Teamster members and retirees are calling for an independent review of the fund that evaluates possible alternatives to Nyhan’s pension demolition plan.
The Save Our Pensions movement is growing and organizing meetings to inform Teamsters and build grassroots pressure to win changes to the Nyhan plan.
Why is an independent review necessary?
Even if you have a good doctor, it’s wise to get a second opinion before undertaking a serious operation. In this case, the pensions of 400,000 Teamsters and retirees are going under the knife.
Under the law, Teamsters are entitled to a retiree representative to the Fund to watchdog for their interests during the pension cut process. But Central States appointed Sue Mauren to be the fund’s retiree representative—a retired official with multiple pensions and close ties to the Hoffa administration. That doesn’t cut it.
Independent actuarial experts could safeguard participants’ interests by evaluating the fund and analyzing alternatives to Nyhan’s Fast-Track plan.
Is there really time for an independent review? Nyhan says there is no time to delay.
Of course, decisive action is required: the fund is in trouble. But the numbers do not justify a rush to judgement—not when the retirement of 400,000 Teamsters who earned their pensions is on the line.
The Fund is not on the brink of bankruptcy. Its assets have actually grown over the past six years. The Fund had $18 billion in assets on September 30, compared to $17.3 billion at the end of 2008 when Wall Street crashed the economy.
Nyhan claims the Fund will go broke in 11 years—but these charts, based on assumptions used by the fund, show that it would actually be closer to 17 years. We cannot allow Central States to go broke at any time, but it is more evidence of why a full review by independent actuaries is needed.
What is Hoffa doing to protect our pensions?
Hoffa was not on the call, nor were any International Union officers. Vice President John Murphy showed up at the Save Our Pensions rally to glad hand the crowd and told people he was “sent by the General President to support what they are doing” and that Hoffa will “fight for the repeal” of the MRPA pension cut law.
If that’s the case, why are Teamster Trustees and International Officers lining up in favor of the Central States cuts? Nyhan has repeatedly stated that all the trustees, including the Union Trustees, support his pension cut plan and his schedule which allows for no amendments.
What Can We Do?
The Save Our Pensions movement is growing and organizing meetings to inform Teamsters and build grassroots pressure to win changes to the Nyhan plan.
We are building a united movement with AARP, other unions, the Pension Rights Center and public allies to support a pension relief bill that will soon be introduced in Congress.
We worked our whole lives for our pensions—now we are working together to defend them.Pension and Benefits EducationIssues: Pension and Benefits
April 15, 2015: Central States Pension Fund Director is giving the hard sell on his fast-track pension cuts, but withholding all the information members need to formulate alternatives.
He states the plan will go broke in exactly 11 years, and says we cannot question his facts. Where does he get this figure? And why hasn’t it changed as the fund’s assets have gone up?
Taking the fund’s current level of employer contributions and benefit pay-out, and the fund’s standard assumption of 8% average return on investment, it would be 17 years (2032) before the fund would go insolvent, according to Chart #1 below.
That’s still a disaster which we cannot let happen, but it is more evidence that we want a full review by independent actuaries and experts of our fund.
Nyhan, in a speech to officials in Rosemont Illinois on April 8, suddenly “moved the goalposts” to change the CSPF’s projected return from its long-standing policy of 8% per year to 7% per year. So we prepared Chart #2 using a 7% assumption for investment returns—this leads to a projected insolvency in 15 years.
Of course, these charts cannot begin to capture the complexity of the pension fund, but they do indicate why an independent review is needed. How did Nyhan and the Trustees make up the 11 year figure?
We’d all like to see all the facts and assumptions behind the curtain, and have a chance to come up with alternatives. Members and retirees deserve no less.
Chart #1: Central States Fund Potential Decline
Assumption: Employer contributions do not increase, pension benefits are not cut, the same management is in place, and the CSPF’s policy assumption of 8% per year average return on investment. (Actually, benefit payments will likely decline as benefit cuts of recent years take hold.)
Chart #2: Central States Fund Potential Decline – with modified assumption of only 7% average return on investment.
We cannot allow anything like this to happen. But where did Nyhan cook up the 11 year claim? We demand a review.Rights & Resources: Pension and Benefits EducationIssues: Pension and Benefits
April 14, 2015: Under the banner of “Save Our Pensions”, 175 Minnesota Teamsters and retirees met on April 11 in St. Paul to get the facts and build the movement to save pensions. A surprise guest, Minnesota Congressman Rick Nolan, declared his support for repealing the pension-cut law and replacing it with a fair solution.
The Save Our Pensions Committee called the meeting, and greatly expanded its working committee as a result of it. More meetings are planned in the Midwest, South, and in North Carolina, as the movement spreads.
In addition to backing a bill to be introduced in Congress, the meeting discussed outreach to involve both retirees and active Teamsters, and to build for a strong No vote on the cuts. The vote, which is expected by late summer, will be a way to gain bargaining power for the movement. The law allows the vote to be overruled, but a strong No vote is essential for credibility in Washington and in the union.
Speakers at the Minnesota meeting included Mike Walden, the chair of the Northeast Ohio Committee to Protect Pensions, Karen Friedman, Policy Director of the Pension Rights Center in Washington DC, and Ken Paff, National Organizer of Teamsters for a Democratic Union. But the stars were the retirees and Teamsters who continue to build the momentum we need.Pension and Benefits
April 13, 2015: The rules for the 2015-2016 Teamster election for IBT General President and officers, and for delegates from each local are now available on line.
Richard Mark, who served as the independent Election Supervisor in the 2006 and 2011 IBT elections, will again supervise the 2015-2016 elections of delegates from all local unions to the IBT Convention, and the IBT Election of officers in 2016.
Mark will supervise a national staff to handle the election, communicate with members, and investigate all protests filed. The rules go into effect on May 1; there is a comment period and they may be modified in minor ways.
Unlike local union officer elections, the Rules, protests and appeals are not handled by incumbent union officials, but by the Election Supervisor.
The Election Supervisor’s website has other information, including past protest decisions, a map to indicate the regional staff who will investigate protests after the Rules go into effect, and an election timeline.
An Election Appeals Master will be appointed as well (jointly appointed by the U.S. Attorney and the IBT) to settle any appeals of protest decisions made by the Election Supervisor.
The Election Agreement and Order signed by Judge Loretta Preska details these matters.
If you questions on the rules or the process, contact us at info [at] tdu.org or call (313) 842-2600
April 13, 2015: On April 15, workers will rally, sit-in and even strike as part of a national day of action to fight for $15-an-hour and a union. Teamster members are getting in on the action too.
More than 60,000 workers in over 120 cities will rally, protest or strike on April 15 in the biggest national day of action since the movement began four years ago.
Grassroots action has paid off. Walmart raised its wages and will hike them again next year. Starting next February, starting pay will be $10 an hour. That’s still not nearly enough—but it’s good that Walmart is feeling the heat.
Trying to head off bad publicity from the April 15 protests, McDonalds increased the pay of 90,000 employees to $9.90 an hour—but another 750,000 McDonalds workers who work at franchises are not eligible for the pay increase.
Keep in mind, Walmart, fast food and other low wage workers work part-time with no benefits.
The Fight for $15 goes way beyond McDonalds. What began as a movement of fast food workers has spread to nursing homes, homecare, Wal-mart and more.
On April 15, UPS part-timers are joining the Fight for $15 with “End Part-Time Poverty at UPS” rallies and worksite actions.
Higher wages—and union rights for all. That’s what the Fight for $15 is all about.
April 9, 2015: Yesterday Teamster leaders and Central States Pension Fund director Thomas Nyhan laid out in vague terms their plan to cut the pensions of retirees and active Teamsters. A preliminary letter to all participants will be mailed out today.
No details or numbers are being revealed, but they did outline their timeline for cuts. By June or soon after, every active Teamster and retiree will receive an individualized estimate of how the proposed cuts will affect them personally.
By late summer or fall, there will be a vote of all active and retired Teamsters on the plan. It is very important that Teamsters and retirees organize now to prepare to reject the plan – we need to send a signal to help mitigate the cuts and win a better solution.
The law requires this vote and certain procedures which will take several months, so no cuts are possible until the spring of 2016.
That gives us time to organize for better solutions that do not place the full burden on slashing pensions. Retirees and Teamsters are organizing now – and the movement is spreading. To get involved, click here.
The pension fund named a Retiree Representative, Susan Mauren, which is required by law before they can go forward on their plan to cut pensions. A letter from Mauren provides her contact information. Retirees are calling on sister Mauren to meet with the retiree committees that are forming to fight the cuts, and to commission a truly independent actuarial review and audit. Members are asking about Mauren – you can read her Teamster background here.
The battle to save pensions is going forward.Pension and Benefits
Sue Mauren was a Teamster employed at the University of Minnesota. She participated in a pension plan run by the university, and was not a participant in the Central States Fund (CSPF) She became a Teamster around 1980 and continued till the early 1990s, when she was hired as a business agent.
Mauren was hired as a business agent in the early 1990s by the leaders of Local 320. The officers of Local 320 were removed for corruption by the Independent Review Board (IRB) in the mid-1990s, and the local was placed into trusteeship. Mauren was not implicated in the corrupt schemes, and retained her position as a BA.
No working members of Local 320 participate in the CSPF. They are all public employees. Thus Mauren did not negotiate or administer any contracts covering CSPF participants.
Later, Mauren was elected and re-elected as the secretary treasurer of Minnesota Local 320. As a BA and full time officer of the union, she became a participant in the CSPF, by virtue of her office, until she retired in 2012.
Mauren had other pension and lump-sum retirement plans as well:
- She retained rights to her pension credits earned at the University of Minnesota.
- As an officer of Local 320, she benefited from the Joint Council 32 plan, which is only for officers and agents; it paid a sizable lump sum upon her retirement.
- As an officer of Local 320, she enjoyed a matching 401k plan, with contributions from her and matching sums from the Local 320 treasury.
- As a BA and later the secretary treasurer of Local 320, she earned about 20 credited years in the Central States Fund.
Mauren received three union salaries: from the local, from the joint council, and an extra $40,000 per year from the International union. She was very close to the Hoffa leadership. Her brother-in-law, Jeff Farmer, was appointed Organizing Director of the IBT by Hoffa.
Thus sister Mauren is a participant in the CSPF, but unlike most participants, she has enjoyed additional pensions and lump-sums.Issues: Pension and Benefits
April 8, 2015: Over 100 Teamsters from across the Midwest and South converged on the Rosemont Convention Center today to voice their objections to possible pension cuts by the Teamster Central States Pension Fund.
"We're here today because we worked hard, sometimes gave up raises, to earn a decent pension,” said Greg Smith, a retiree from Akron Ohio Local 24. The retirees talked with officials and passed out a leaflet to them, as they entered the meeting called by the pension fund.
In that meeting, fund director Thomas Nyhan told Teamster officials that pension cuts are the only answer, and laid out a timeline.
Nyhan was a principal supporter of a bill that sneaked through Congress as an amendment to the federal budget last December, to allow troubled pension plans to make cuts in already-earned pensions.
The rally was called by committees that are part of a growing movement to defend pensions. Groups travelled from Wisconsin, various Ohio cities, Iowa, Tennessee, Michigan, Georgia, Missouri and other areas. The Wisconsin Committee to Protect Pension spearheaded the rally.
Nyhan reported that they will immediately mail a preliminary letter to 65,000 active Teamsters and 210,000 retirees and others who have earned a vested pension. His timeline calls for cuts to be announced to each member early this summer.
Under the new law, all retirees and active Teamsters will then get a vote. Even though that vote can be voided, it is a crucial tool to send a signal where we stand, and the pension movement will make the most of it. That vote could come by late summer. The fund has a new website page to explain their plan for pension cuts.
Nyhan wants the cuts implemented by a year from now. That gives us time to head them off and work for better solutions.
The pension movement, Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) the Pension Rights Center, in alliance with the AARP and various unions, is calling for change to the pension cut law so that the full burden of pension problems does not fall on retirees, who earned their pensions.
And where is Teamster president Hoffa, as the Teamster Trustees of the Teamster fund call for slashing pensions?
Hoffa sent International vice president John Murphy to gladhand retirees at the rally. He repeatedly claimed that Hoffa is “on your side” fighting the cuts. Then he walked in and heard Hoffa’s other representatives, such as international trustee Jim Kabell the Teamster trustees of the fund, tell officials to sell members and retirees on getting their pensions slashed.Pension and Benefits
In December 2014, Congress changed pension law by attaching the Pension Reform Act (PRA) to the must-pass 2015 omnibus spending bill as a rider. Doing so allowed the PRA to not be debated on the floor and spared House and Senate members from having to vote on an unpopular measure.
Currently, the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means is pursuing the reform of Social Security, using much the same rationale that was employed to cut benefits of private pension-plan participants — that if changes are not made, retirees face drastic cuts. The committee states: “Without action to address the fiscal and structural challenges facing Social Security, seniors will see a 23 percent cut to their benefits beginning in 2033. Action must be taken now to preserve the promise of Social Security for today’s beneficiaries and future generations.”
Click here to read more at the Star Tribune.Issues: Pension and Benefits
FedEx Corp (FDX.N) is to buy Dutch package delivery firm TNT Express (TNTE.AS) for an agreed 4.4 billion euros ($4.8 billion), stepping up the challenge to rivals United Parcel Service (UPS.N) and Deutsche Post (DPWGn.DE) in Europe.
European regulators blocked a 2013 takeover of TNT by UPS due to concerns it would stifle competition, but analysts and executives said on Tuesday FedEx, with its strong air fleet, would complement TNT's sizeable European road network.
Click here to read more at Reuters.
Since joining the company in 2011, the Overland Park-based less-than-truckload carrier has come a long way. It has dodged bankruptcy and default fears, reorganized its labor agreement with its union employees and reached a new debt agreement that will allow the company to focus on doing business. With two straight profitable quarters under its belt, YRC is feeling better in 2015 and attracting new investors.
Click here to read more at Kanas City Business Journal.Issues: Freight
The website – Truth About John Arnold – is sponsored by the National Public Pension Coalition (NPPC) andCalifornians for Retirement Security and traces the wide financial influence that one billionaire has on public pension fights. John Arnold amassed his fortune as an Enron trader, where he earned an $8 million bonus as the company’s collapse decimated $1.5 billion in public pension assets. Arnold turned his $8 million into billions as a Wall Street hedge fund manager.
Click here to read more.Issues: Pension and Benefits
UPS Inc. plans to build 15 compressed natural gas fueling stations to support its purchase and deployment of 1,400 new CNG vehicles over the next year.
Twelve stations will be in new natural-gas deployment areas, and three will replace existing CNG stations with higher-capacity equipment, the company said April 1.
Click here to read more at Transport Topics.Issues: UPS
March 31, 2015: Stop the rush to pension cuts will be the rallying cry when retirees and active Teamsters converge on Rosemont, to ask their local officers to Say No to Pension Cuts.
The Central States Pension Fund has summoned hundreds of Teamster officials to a meeting Wednesday, April 8, where pension fund director Thomas Nyhan will report on his plans regarding possible pension cuts for some 300,000 retired and active Teamsters.
The Wisconsin Committee to Protect Pensions has called for a rally to defend Teamster retirement security to commence at 11 am outside the Rosemont Convention Center. Active and retired Teamsters from Ohio, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, and as far as Georgia will be traveling by bus, car, and van to meet up and be heard.
"Why are we being rushed to take cuts when Central States has had over two years to get this bill passed by Congress?”, commented Bob Amsden a retired Milwaukee Local 200 freight Teamster.
All concerned retirees, active Teamsters, and retiree advocates are invited to be there and lend support. We will take our case to all the union officers attending as well as the national media.
WHAT: Rally to Defend Our Pensions. No Rush to Pension Cuts without an Independent Audit.
WHEN: 11 am CDT, Wednesday April 8.
WHERE: The Rosemont Convention Center is located at 5555 N. River Rd. in Rosemont, Illinois.
FURTHER INFORMATION: Wisconsin Committee to Protect Pensions – Bob Amsden (414) 688 -5010. Northeast Ohio Committee to Protect Pensions – Mike Walden (330) 801-1108. Cincinnati Area – Tom Krekeler (513) 324-3574. St. Louis Area – Sue Cole (314) 550-6179. Central Ohio Committee to Protect Pensions – Whitlaw Wyatt (740) 606-4861. TDU – Pete Landon (313) 842-2600.Issues: Pension and Benefits
March 31, 2015: The 2014 financial report of the IBT is available, as of today, as are the financial reports of nearly all Teamster local unions.
Hoffa’s salary rose to $305,759, and including his lucrative “housing allowance” he made $379,411.
To access your local’s 2014 report, just follow the instructions here.
Today is the deadline for every local, joint council, or international to file its 2014 LM-2 financial report with the U.S. Department of Labor. All U.S. locals must file a report, unless they are composed solely of public employees.
The Teamster Rank & File Education and Legal Defense Foundation (TRF) will be compiling information for hundreds of reports, and will produce an analysis for Teamster members. We know our Teamster dues are a great investment, and want to make sure that all members understand how our dues money is being used.
You can access our report compiled last year.
If you have any questions or need help getting an LM-2, please call the TDU National Office at 313-842-2600, or click here to ask a question or send us a message.Issues: TDU UPS Freight Network
Are the chickens finally coming home to roost for Teamsters brass?
After a wave of anger at concessions the union forced onto unwilling members in its national contracts, some of President James Hoffa’s biggest opponents are teaming up to challenge him in the 2016 race.
Click here to read more at Labor Notes.
The U.S. Supreme Court sided with a woman who was faced with the choice to either work her labor-intensive job during pregnancy at the United Parcel Service or go on unpaid leave without benefits. In an opinion issued Wednesday morning, the justices ruled 6-3 that Young should at least be given a full opportunity to make her case in court that she was not given the same accommodation as other employees considered injured or disabled.
Young was tasked with lifting boxes as heavy as 70 pounds in her job as a UPS worker. When she got pregnant, her midwife recommended that she not lift more than 20 pounds, and wrote a note asking her employer to put her on light duty. Had Young been written a similar note because Young broke her arm carrying boxes, or suffered from a disability, UPS would have put her on what is known as “light duty.” But UPS wouldn’t do it for Young on account of her pregnancy. The alternative was to take unpaid leave without medical benefits.
Click here to read more at Think Progress.Issues: UPS
As the U.S. heads toward what some economists consider “full employment,” trucking companies tracked by the Labor Department hired an additional 2,600 workers in February, pushing the monthly JOC.com Trucking Employment Index reading up to 99.9.That means the more than 100,000 motor carriers surveyed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for its monthly U.S. employment situation report are only one-tenth of a percentage point shy of their peak pre-recession employment level, last reached in May 2007. The prospect of near-full employment, a new employment peak in trucking and more good paying jobs in construction and other industries that vie with trucking for workers will keep upward pressure on driver wages and the truck rates shippers pay in 2015. The February Trucking Employment Index rose 0.1 percentage points from January, when the reading was 99.8, according to revised monthly data from the BLS. The index reading for February 2013 was 96.4. That indicates an annualized growth rate in trucking employment last month of 3.5 percent, the same as in January and the highest rate since late 2012. That year, the growth rate averaged 3.8 percent and was 4 percent or higher in four months. The for-hire trucking industry nearly doubled its hiring rate in 2014, expanding payroll by 46,000 jobs, compared with 24,900 in 2013, when the U.S. economy was stuck in a “soft patch.” The for-hire carriers tracked by the Labor Department agency shed 218,500 jobs from March 2007 through March 2010, and added 207,400 jobs from that date through 2014. The average monthly increase in trucking employment, calculated from the BLS data, rose from 2,075 workers in 2013 to 3,833 employees last year, an 85 percent increase that likely reflects strong recruiting efforts and higher pay. The carriers tracked by the BLS added more than 4,000 jobs in eight out of 12 months last year, compared with four months in 2013. At the same time, trucking companies say they are short by at least 30,000 drivers, while running at close to full utilization — more than 95 percent. That’s a sign demand for trucking capacity outstrips supply as the U.S. economy expands at an accelerated pace. Trucking’s latest employment gains came as the U.S. economy added 295,000 nonfarm jobs in February, driving the national unemployment rate down to 5.5 percent. That’s the lowest unemployment rate since the recession ended in 2009. The U.S. has added more than 200,000 jobs per month for 12 straight months now, the best hiring rate in the U.S. since the mid-1990s, according to BLS data. Transportation and warehousing businesses accounted for 18,500 new jobs in February, the seasonally adjusted payroll data show. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal believe the U.S. will hit “full employment” — the point where the economy is using all available labor — late this year, as the national unemployment rate drops toward 5.1 percent. The U.S. Federal Reserve considers an unemployment rate between 5.2 and 5.5 percent to be “normal,” The newspaper reported. At the same time, there were 5 million available jobs on Jan. 31, the highest level of job openings since 2001, according to BLS data. That includes 205,000 openings in transportation, warehousing and utilities, the federal agency said.
United Parcel Service Inc. on Tuesday said Chief Executive David P. Abney’s total compensation for 2014 more than doubled, including a base salary increase he received in September when he was promoted to the helm of the package-delivery giant.
Mr. Abney, who had been the company’s chief operating officer, succeeded Scott Davis, who retired as CEO but stayed on as chairman. The move signaled the U.S. shipping giant’s growing focus on its international operations.
Click here to read more at The Wall Street Journal.Issues: UPS