Can't Count on Retirement Date

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Some local workers on the verge of retiring learn they may not be able to. Members of Teamsters Local 325 in Rockford were informed Sunday morning that their pension benefits are being cut.

The announcement affects truck drivers all around the country. Things seemed to be in order when they signed a new contract in April. But now, thanks to a mistake by pension administrators, retirement is farther away.

Terry Randel expected to retire in two years. He has spent almost 30 years driving a truck as a teamster in Rockford. But now he says his retirement will have to wait. That's because Central States Health and Welfare, which manages Randel's and thousands of other driver's pensions made a mistake. Union members were advised that there isn't enough money to sustain current retirement benefits. Local 325 members were told that pension administrators, miscalculated the amount of contributions needed to maintain current benefit levels.

Here is why members are so upset. Drivers who reach the age of 52 with 30 or more years of union membership were able to retire with a $3,000 a month pension and health care. Not any more. Drivers were told they will have to work an additional 10 years until the age of 62 to receive the same pension. Workers will also have to pay an additional $800 a month towards insurance. Even retired union members say they feel cheated.

Where does the blame lie? Some members believe with the union and pension company. We tried to talk with union officials at the teamster’s local hall, they wouldn't give us any comment on the situation and ordered us to leave. Now a meeting has been called next weekend for union employees to try and get some answers to why this happened.