Extolling Teamsters Plans
Which of you nitwits wrote the editorial in the Aug. 18 issue of Pensions & Investments regarding the pension plan dispute between the Teamsters and United Parcel Service? I would understand if this editorial was in an issue of a publication from the National Association of Manufacturers, National Right to Work Committee, The Heritage Foundation or Charlton Heston's Newsletter. For a magazine that purports to be informed on pensions, you editorial was laughably ideological and uninformed.
All Teamster pension plans are "jointly trusteed," meaning that employer trustees have an equal say on every trust. For you to either not know or not acknowledge this fact is either gross ignorance on your part or outright lying about union officials being the sole transgressors of misdeeds involving Teamster pension plans. Further, no major Teamster pension plan has been the subject of corruption charges for almost two decades. To base the points of your editorial on events that took place a quarter of a century ago and longer demonstrates more a desire to criticize the Teamsters union and organized labor than to give the reader an understanding of some valid points of conflict within the UPS membership on the company's pension proposals.
Further, in the 13 western United States, Teamster members participate in the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Trust. This is a fully funded, conservatively managed $18 billion plan that has operated for over 40 years without a hint of scandal or reproach. The benefits provided under this plan are superior to those proposed by UPS in the recent contract negotiations. The plan is "portable" to thousands of other employers in the west and has reciprocal benefit arrangements with virtually all Teamster pension plans in the remainder of the United States. Again, for you to not know or not mention this plan and its history in your editorial is inexcusable.
I am not writing because I wish to vent any frustration on your publication. As a union representative for many years, one develops a personal sense of value and proportion. Rather I am writing in objection to your editorial because yours is the principal and "best" source of information on pension developments in the country. You diminish the stature of the magazine and raise doubts about your motives in everything from choosing which stories to report on to writing your opinions on pension matters when you depart from objective reasoning and write so strongly solely from emotion.
Mark C. Endresenm
INVESTMENTS OF REGULATORS
Come on, regulators need investment help. Of all the stories that could be written, you write about Herman, Strauss and Berg (page 1, Sept. 1). How about from 1990 to the present, the real physical economy of the U.S. contracted at a rate of 2% per annum. In this same time frame, the Dow Jones industrial average rose from 2,810 on Jan. 1, 1990 to approximately 7,700 now! Thus, it is strictly true to say there is less than nothing backing up this market. How about some solid stories on items such as steel, tools, construction - that is, real production which should drive investments. Not mutual fund mania, hottest funds, Morningstar ratings and hype market b.s. . . . Finally it is always best to walk a mile in another's shoes before any statement is made. Maybe Herman, Strauss and Berg are happy with the investments they have, maybe age, time and how they view money play a role in the decision. This is America; it's their decision. Write about something that helps investors and/or trustees make informed decisions.
Danny L. Caliendo
Ironworkers Local #1
Pension & Annuity trustee
Forest Park, Ill.