November 6, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Binghamton, NY – Almost 35,000 Teamsters Union members in New York State may lose as much as 30% of their retirement benefits next July 1, under cuts recently proposed by pension-fund administrators.
“Our fund remains severely underfunded,” plan trustees told participants in a letter. “If we wait to take action, we will be forced to make even larger cuts later, and run the risk that the fund will end up paying no pensions at all.” Retirees over 80 won’t be affected, but those under 75 will take drastic hits. If the cuts go through, Armand Gavazzi, a retired United Parcel Service driver from Vestal, N.Y., told USA Today, his pension will be $500 to $600 a month less. Plan trustees say the fund, battered by the 2008 recession and the decline in union trucking, has about half of the $3.2 billion in assets it needs to cover projected benefits, and there are more retirees collecting benefits than active employees contributing to it. Under the 2014 federal law that lets multiemployer pension funds reduce benefits if they’re facing insolvency, the cuts would have to be approved by both plan members and the Treasury Department. A group called the Teamster Alliance for Pension Protection is commissioning a review of the pension fund to see if the trustees followed a responsible investment policy. Read more