The first hearing for the injunction occurred on St. Patrick’s Day in the Federal courthouse in Manhattan. No one for the other side showed up except the Fund’s lawyer, (representing some of the Trustees against other Trustees and Participants!) and he was chastised by the Honorable Judge Wood for incompetence.
The Judge was willing to listen, but it is too early to tell our chances of success. The next court date will be the week after Easter and we want Teamsters Local 805 members to attend. The exact date will be posted on the Pension page later this week.
In exchange for dropping the lawsuit in Federal Court the Union achieved all of its aims. Settling out of court saves the members a lengthy and costly legal battle. Fund Trustee and Local President Sandy Pope said, “Once the Employer Trustees saw that we were serious about the lawsuit, we basically got everything we wanted. The accrual rate will be fair, the Funds will be run by a professional, and the new, expanded Board will keep something like this from happening again.”
The accrual rate of zero adopted in December will never go into effect. The Union Trustees and the Employer Trustees will each hire an actuary to determine the highest future benefit accrual rate the Pension Fund can afford. It will take about three months for the actuaries to complete their analysis, but the rate adopted will be retroactive to the beginning of the “zero period.” The actuaries will also review the costs of early retirement options. Once the study is complete the Union Trustees will seek membership feedback.