Much of the first 14 months of the Obama administration has been a public “love story” between the White House and the Labor Unions. It seems as if President Obama has been basing many of his decisions on how they help the Union Bosses as opposed to how they help the entire country:

  • A large contributor to the bankruptcy of Chrysler and General Motors was the liability the Auto Giants owed to the UAW pension plans. In the buyout deal, the President gave the unions more than their fair share of the two companies at the expense of the primary investors who legally should have received more.
  • In September the POTUS announced that it would impose a tariff of 35 percent on $1.8 billion of automobile tires imports from China, angering the country holding a large chunk of our bonds, acting on a petition from one of his major constituencies, the United Steelworkers union.
  • Unions have been the fiercest proponents of the Obamacare. Andy Stern, head of the SEIU has been to the White House more than any other visitor. Some commentators have reported that’s Stern’s constant trips to the White House is due to his participation in reviewing the basic components of the health care bills as they are developed by the houses of congress. Why is this particular legislation so important to the unions? Because the unions pensions plans are woefully underfunded. The hope is once Obamacare is passed union workers will eventually be shoved over to the co-ops (or an eventual government option), freeing up union cash to help with the pension program.
  • As of this very moment the administration is working on a plan to give preference to Union Shops for ALL federal contracts. The proposal, dubbed the “High Road Contracting Policy,” was first reportedby The Daily Caller in early February. According to multiple sources familiar with the discussions, the proposal would give preference to government contractors that pay their hourly workers a “living wage” and provide additional benefits such as health insurance, employer-funded retirement plans and paid sick leave. In other words, they will be “cutting out” the non-union shops and raising the price of jobs, and increasing the federal deficit.

These are just a few ways the President is favoring his friends, the Union leaders over the needs of the Union Rank and file and the American People. The reason for the favorable treatment is that most Union Pension Plans are about to collapse and much of the rank and file may not even know that when they are ready to retire their pensions may not be there.


Should these pension plans collapse its curtains for the Union Leaders and it would not be the best recruiting tool for the labor movement in general.


How bad off are the union pension plans? The best single indicator of a plan’s financial health is its Funding Percentage. A fully funded plan will have a funding percentage of 100%. A plan is underfunded when the percentage is below 100%. The lower the percentage, the greater the risk that benefits will not be available when they come due.


According to the Pension Protection Act of 2006 multi-employer (plans set through unions and company sponsors) plans are evaluated via their funding levels. To ensure retiree benefits are protected, when a multiemployer plan falls below certain funding levels, stronger funding requirements become effective under provisions of the Pension Protection Act of 2006. Plans whose funding levels are below 80% are referred to as “endangered,” while those below 65% are referred to as “critical.”


Moody’s September 2009 report measured 133 union pension plans.  The list of 108 union pension plans below are the ones rated endangered or critical. Is your retirement plan in the list?

.

.
Union Pension Plan
% Funded

.
Alaska Hotel & Restaurant Employees Pension Plan
79.70%

.
American Federation of Musicians & Employers Pension
78.90%

.
Teamsters Local 639 Employers Pension Trust
76.10%

.
Producer-Writers Guild of America Pension Plan
75.90%

.
Ohio Operating Engineers Pension Plan
75.70%

.
Laborers District Council and Contractors Pension Fund of Ohio
75.40%

.
Southern Nevada Culinary & Bartenders Pension Trust
75.40%

.
Alaska Electrical Pension Plan
74.30%

.
Alaska Laborers – Employers Retirement Fund
73.70%

.
Electrical Contractors Assoc. of City of Chicago Union 134, IBEW Jt. Pension 2
73.70%

.
Carpenters Retirement Plan of Western Washington
73.10%

.
Automotive Industries Pension Plan
72.40%

.
American Maritime Officers Pension Plan (2005)
72.40%

.
United Mine Workers of America 1974 Pension Plan
72.30%

.
GCIU Local 119B NY Printers League Pension Fund
71.40%

.
National Elevator Industry Pension
71.00%

.
Western Conference of Teamsters
70.60%

.
Newspaper GUILD of NY the New York Times Pension Plan
70.50%

.
Chicago District Council of Carpenters Pension Fund
70.10%

.
District No. 9, IAM and Aerospace Workers Pension
69.70%

.
Rocky Mt. UFCW Unions & Employers Pension Plan
69.50%

.
Hotel/Casino – Summary
69.50%

.
NECA-IBEW Pension Trust Fund
69.20%

.
Central Pension Fund of the IUOE and Participating Employers
69.20%

.
AFTRA Retirement Plan
68.90%

.
Carpenters Pension Trust Fund of St Louis
68.60%

.
MA State Carpenters Pension Fund
68.60%

.
National Automatic Sprinkler Industry Pension
67.80%

.
Midwest Operating Engineers Pension
67.80%

.
Retail Clerks Pension Plan
67.70%

.
Electrical Workers Pension Fund, Local 103, IBEW
67.50%

.
Building Trades United Pension Trust Fund MIL and Vicinity
67.40%

.
CWA/ITU Negotiated Pension Plan
66.80%

.
UFCW Unions & Employers Midwest Pension Fund
66.70%

.
Laborers Pension Fund
66.70%

.
Carpenters Pension Fund of Philadelphia and Vicinity
66.40%

.
UFCW International Union Pension Plan for Employees
66.40%

.
Alaska Teamster-Employer Pension Plan
66.30%

.
Steelworkers Pension Trust (2007)
66.20%

.
Hotel Industry-ILWU Pension Plan
65.70%

.
National Asbestos Workers Pension Fund
65.20%

.
IUOE Stationary Engineers Local 39 Pension Plan
65.20%

.
SEIU National Industry Pension Fund
65.00%

.
Trucking Employees of North Jersey Welfare Fund Inc. Pension Fund
65.00%

.
Massachusetts Laborers Pension Fund
64.70%

.
California Ironworkers Field Pension Trust
64.50%

.
Carpenters Pension Fund of Illinois
64.20%

.
Automotive Machinists Pension Plan
63.80%

.
NJ Carpenters Pension Fund
63.60%

.
The Newspaper Guild International Pension Plan
62.80%

.
Minnesota Laborers Pension Fund
62.40%

.
Bakery & Confectionery Union & Industry International Pension
62.30%

.
Laborers National Pension Fund
62.10%

.
Operating Engineers Pension Trust
61.70%

.
UFCW Unions and Food Employers Pension Plan of Central Ohio
61.30%

.
UFCW Nothern California Joint Pension
61.00%

.
Carpenters Pension fund of Western Pennsylvania
60.80%

.
Newspaper and Mail Delivers – Publishers Pension Fund
60.50%

.
Carpenter Pension Trust for Southern California
60.40%

.
BERT Bell Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan
60.00%

.
Major League Baseball Players Pension Plan
59.60%

.
Sheet Metal Workers Pension Plan of S. CA, Arizona and Nevada
59.50%

.
NY District Council of Carpenters Pension Plan
59.30%

.
SO CA UFCW Union Joint Pension
58.40%

.
National Electrical Benefit Fund
58.20%

.
Boilermaker Blacksmith National Pension
58%

.
GCIU-Employer Retirement Fund
57.60%

.
ILWU-PMA Pension Plan
56.90%

.
Masters, Mates & Pilots Pension Plan
56.60%

.
Wisconsin Carpenters Pension Fund
56.50%

.
Electrical Workers Pension Trust Fund of Local Union 58
55.80%

.
Automotive Mechanics Local No. 701 Union Pension Fund
55.60%

.
IB of T Union Local 710 Pension
55.60%

.
Michigan Laborers Pension Fund
55.30%

.
PACE Industry Union-Management Pension Fund
55.20%

.
Pipe Fitters Retirement Fund Local 597
55.20%

.
Sheet Metal Workers Pension Plan of Northern Calif
55.10%

.
Central Pennsylvania Teamsters Defined Benefit Plan
55.10%

.
NY Hotel Trades Council and Hotel Association of NYC Pension Fund
55.10%

.
Teamsters Joint Council No. 83 of Verginia Pension Fund
54.90%

.
National Integrated Group Pension Plan
54.50%

.
Plumbers & Pipefitters National Pension
54.50%

.
Central Laborers Pension Fund
54.20%

.
Iron Workers District Council of Southern Ohio & Vicinity Pension Trust
53.90%

.
Carpenters Pension Trust Fund for Northern California
53.70%

.
Bricklayers & Trowel Trades International Pension Fund
53.60%

.
Western Pennsylvania Teamsters and Employers Pension Plan
53.10%

.
Chicago Newspaper Publishers Drivers Union Pension Trust
52.90%

.
OE Pension Trust Fund
52.40%

.
Indiana State District Council of Laborers & Hod Carriers Pension Fund
51.70%

.
NYS Teamsters Conference Pension & Retirement Fund
51.40%

.
LIUNA National Industrial Pension Fund
50.30%

.
Michigan Carpenters Pension Fund
50.20%

.
Twin City Carpenters Pension Fund
50.20%

.
Laborers Pension Trust Fund for Northern California
50.00%

.
HERE Local 25 and Hotel Association of Washington, DC Pension
49.30%

.
Central States SE&SW
48.50%

.
Teamsters Pension Trust of Philadelphia and Vicinity
48.50%

.
Operating Engineers Local 324 Pension Fund
47.30%

.
Laborers District Council of W. PA Pension Fund
46.80%

.
Iron Workers Local No. 25 Pension Trust Fund
46.40%

.
Local 705 IB of T Pension Trust Fund
46.30%

.
Building Service 32B-J Pension Fund
42.30%

.
Carpenters Pension Trust Fund Detroit & Vicinity
41.40%

.
New England Teamsters & Trucking Industry Pension
40.50%

.
FELRA and UFCW Pension Fund
39.80%

.
Local 804 I.B.T. and Local 447 IAM UPS Multi-employer Retirement Plan
39.70%

.
Sheet Metal Workers National Pension Fund
38.00%

This is the first of a series of posts about Union pensions, and how White House policy is being adapted to save the “arses” of union leaders. Look for more soon.

You Can Find More of Jeff Dunetz’s Writing at his Personal Blog, The Lid

Tags: Obama Unions