Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)


3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2020
Retirement Benefits [Abstract]  
Company-Sponsored Benefit Plans
Information about net periodic benefit cost for our company-sponsored pension and postretirement benefit plans is as follows for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2019 (in millions):
  U.S. Pension Benefits U.S. Postretirement
Medical Benefits
Pension Benefits
2020 2019 2020 2019 2020 2019
Three Months Ended March 31:
Service cost $ 464    $ 359    $   $   $ 16    $ 14   
Interest cost 494    517    23    27    10    12   
Expected return on assets (888)   (782)   (2)   (2)   (21)   (19)  
Amortization of prior service cost 55    54        —    —   
Net periodic benefit cost $ 125    $ 148    $ 30    $ 33    $   $  
During the first three months of 2020, we contributed $19 and $203 million to our company-sponsored pension and U.S. postretirement medical benefit plans, respectively. We currently expect to contribute approximately $1.1 billion over the remainder of the year to our pension benefit plans. Subject to market conditions, we continually evaluate opportunities for additional discretionary pension contributions.
The components of net periodic benefit cost other than current service cost are presented within “Investment income and other” in the statements of consolidated income.
Multiemployer Benefit Plans
We contribute to a number of multiemployer defined benefit and health and welfare plans under the terms of collective bargaining agreements that cover our union-represented employees. Our current collective bargaining agreements set forth the annual contribution increases allotted to the plans that we participate in, and we are in compliance with these contribution rates. These limitations on annual contribution rates will remain in effect throughout the terms of the existing collective bargaining agreements.
As of March 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019 we had $843 and $845 million, respectively, recorded in "Other Non-Current Liabilities" as well as $7 million as of both March 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, recorded in "Other current liabilities" on our consolidated balance sheets associated with our previous withdrawal from a multiemployer pension plan. This liability is payable in equal monthly installments over a remaining term of approximately 43 years. Based on the borrowing rates currently available to us for long-term financing of a similar maturity, the fair value of this withdrawal liability as of March 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019 was $907 and $929 million, respectively. We utilized Level 2 inputs in the fair value hierarchy of valuation techniques to determine the fair value of this liability.
UPS was a contributing employer to the Central States Pension Fund (“CSPF”) until 2007 when we withdrew from the CSPF and fully funded our allocable share of unfunded vested benefits by paying a $6.1 billion withdrawal liability. Under a collective bargaining agreement with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (“IBT”), UPS agreed to provide coordinating benefits in the UPS/IBT Full Time Employee Pension Plan (“UPS/IBT Plan”) for UPS participants whose last employer was UPS and who had not retired as of January 1, 2008 (“the UPS Transfer Group”) in the event that benefits are lawfully reduced by the CSPF in the future consistent with the terms of our withdrawal agreement with the CSPF. Under our withdrawal agreement with the CSPF, benefits to the UPS Transfer Group cannot be reduced without our consent and can only be reduced in accordance with applicable law.
In December 2014, Congress passed the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act (“MPRA”). This change in law for the first time permitted multiemployer pension plans to reduce benefit payments to retirees, subject to specific guidelines in the statute and government approval. In September 2015, the CSPF submitted a proposed pension benefit reduction plan to the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”). In May 2016, Treasury rejected the proposed plan submitted by the CSPF. In the first quarter of 2018, Congress established a Joint Select Committee to develop a recommendation to improve the solvency of multiemployer plans and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (“PBGC”) before a November 30, 2018 deadline. While the Committee’s efforts failed to meet its deadline, the Committee made significant progress towards finding solutions that will address the long-term solvency of multiemployer pension plans. In the third quarter of 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act of 2019 to provide assistance to critical and declining multiemployer pension plans. This bill is now with the U.S. Senate for consideration. UPS will continue to work with all stakeholders, including legislators and regulators, to implement an acceptable solution.
The CSPF has said that it believes a legislative solution to its funded status is necessary or that it will become insolvent in 2025, and we expect that the CSPF will continue to explore options to avoid insolvency. Numerous factors could affect the CSPF’s funded status and UPS’s potential obligation to pay coordinating benefits under the UPS/IBT Plan. Any obligation to pay coordinating benefits will be subject to a number of significant uncertainties, including whether the CSPF submits a revised MPRA filing and the terms thereof, or whether it otherwise seeks federal government assistance, as well as the terms of any applicable legislation, the extent to which benefits are paid by the PBGC and our ability to successfully defend legal positions we may take in the future under the MPRA, including the suspension ordering provisions, our withdrawal agreement and other applicable law.
We account for the potential obligation to pay coordinating benefits to the UPS Transfer Group under Accounting Standards Codification Topic 715- Compensation- Retirement Benefits (“ASC 715”), which requires us to provide a best estimate of various actuarial assumptions, including the eventual outcome of this matter, in measuring our pension benefit obligation at the December 31st measurement date. While we currently believe the most likely outcome to this matter and the broader systemic problems facing multiemployer pension plans is intervention by the federal government, ASC 715 does not permit anticipation of changes in law in making a best estimate of pension liabilities.
As such, our best estimate of the next most likely outcome at the December 31, 2019 measurement date was that the CSPF would submit and implement another benefit reduction plan under the MPRA during 2020. We believe any MPRA filing would be designed to forestall insolvency by reducing benefits to participants other than the UPS Transfer Group to the maximum extent permitted, and then reducing benefits to the UPS Transfer Group by a lesser amount.
We evaluated this outcome using a deterministic cash flow projection, reflecting updated estimated CSPF cash flows and investment earnings, the lack of legislative action and the absence of a MPRA filing by the CSPF in 2019. As a result, at the December 31, 2019 measurement date, the best estimate of our projected benefit obligation for coordinating benefits that may be required to be directly provided by the UPS/IBT Plan to the UPS Transfer Group was $2.6 billion.
The future value of this estimate will be influenced by the terms and timing of any MPRA filing, changes in our discount rate, rate of return on assets and other actuarial assumptions, presumed solvency of the PBGC, as well as potential solutions resulting from federal government intervention. Any such event may result in a decrease or an increase in the best estimate of our projected benefit obligation. If the uncertainties are not resolved, it is reasonably possible that our projected benefit obligation could increase by approximately $2.2 billion, resulting in a total obligation for coordinating benefits of approximately $4.8 billion. If a future change in law occurs, it may be a significant event requiring an interim remeasurement of the UPS/IBT Plan at the date the law is enacted. We will continue to assess the impact of these uncertainties on our projected benefit obligation in accordance with ASC 715.
Collective Bargaining Agreements
We have approximately 290,000 employees employed under a national master agreement and various supplemental agreements with local unions affiliated with the Teamsters. The current National Master Agreement ("NMA") was ratified on April 28, 2019, and runs through July 31, 2023. Most of the economic provisions of the NMA are retroactive to August 1, 2018, which is the effective date of the NMA. The UPS Freight business unit national master agreement was ratified on November 11, 2018.
We have approximately 2,900 pilots who are employed under a collective bargaining agreement with the Independent Pilots Association ("IPA"). On March 31, 2020, a two-year contract extension was ratified by the IPA, resulting in the collective bargaining agreement becoming amendable September 1, 2023.
We have approximately 1,500 airline mechanics who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement with Teamsters Local 2727 which becomes amendable November 1, 2023. In addition, approximately 3,300 of our auto and maintenance mechanics who are not employed under agreements with the Teamsters are employed under collective bargaining agreements with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (“IAM”). The collective bargaining agreement with the IAM runs through July 31, 2024.