Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)


3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2021
Retirement Benefits [Abstract]  
Company-Sponsored Benefit Plans
Information about the net periodic benefit (income) cost for our company-sponsored pension and postretirement benefit plans for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020 is as follows (in millions):
  U.S. Pension Benefits U.S. Postretirement
Medical Benefits
Pension Benefits
2021 2020 2021 2020 2021 2020
Three Months Ended March 31:
Service cost $ 553  $ 464  $ $ $ 19  $ 16 
Interest cost 488  494  19  23  10  10 
Expected return on assets (846) (888) (2) (2) (17) (21)
Amortization of prior service cost 33  55  —  — 
Actuarial (gain) loss (3,290) —  —  —  —  — 
Net periodic benefit (income) cost $ (3,062) $ 125  $ 26  $ 30  $ 12  $
The components of net periodic benefit (income) cost other than current service cost are presented within Investment income and other in the statements of consolidated income.
On January 24, 2021, we entered into a definitive agreement to divest our UPS Freight business, details of which are set out in note 6. Upon closing, certain U.S. pension and postretirement benefit plans will be subject to remeasurement of plan assets and benefit obligations.
During the first three months of 2021, we contributed $22 and $193 million to our company-sponsored pension and U.S. postretirement medical benefit plans, respectively. We currently expect to contribute approximately $72 and $63 million over the remainder of the year to our pension and U.S. postretirement medical benefit plans, respectively. Subject to market conditions, we continually evaluate opportunities for additional discretionary contributions.
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, 2021 and December 31, 2020, we had $835 and $837 million, respectively, recorded in Other non-current liabilities as well as $8 and $7 million as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, respectively, 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 42 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, 2021 and December 31, 2020 was $916 million and $1.0 billion, 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 at which time UPS withdrew and paid a $6.1 billion withdrawal liability to satisfy our allocable share of unfunded vested benefits. 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 this withdrawal agreement, benefits to the UPS Transfer Group cannot be reduced without our consent and can only be reduced in accordance with applicable law. The financial crisis of 2008 created extensive asset losses at the CSPF, contributing to the plan’s projected insolvency, at which time benefits would be reduced to the legally permitted Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation ("PBGC") limits, triggering the coordination of benefits provision in the collective bargaining agreement.
In 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 2015, the CSPF submitted a proposed pension benefit reduction plan to the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”). In 2016, Treasury rejected the proposed plan submitted by the CSPF. In light of its financial difficulties, the CSPF had stated that it believed a legislative solution to its funded status would be necessary or that it would become insolvent in 2025, at which time benefits would be reduced to the applicable PBGC benefit levels.
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 and at interim periods when a significant event occurs. ASC 715 does not permit anticipation of changes in law when developing a best estimate.
At the December 31, 2020 measurement date, we developed our best estimate for the potential obligation to pay coordinating benefits to the UPS Transfer Group using a deterministic cash flow projection that reflected estimated CSPF cash flows and investment earnings, the lack of legislative action having been taken, the expectation of payment of guaranteed benefits by the PBGC and the lack of a benefit reduction plan under MPRA having been filed by the CSPF. As a result, our best estimate at that time of the obligation for coordinating benefits that may have been required to be directly provided by the UPS/IBT Plan to the UPS Transfer Group was $5.5 billion.
In March 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”) was enacted into law. The ARPA contains provisions that allow for qualifying financially distressed multiemployer pension plans to apply for special financial assistance from the PBGC, which will be funded by Treasury. Following approval of an application, a qualifying multiemployer pension plan will receive a lump sum payment to enable it to continue paying unreduced benefits through 2051. The multiemployer plan is not obligated to repay the special financial assistance. The ARPA is intended to prevent both the PBGC and certain financially distressed multiemployer pension plans, including the CSPF, from becoming insolvent through 2051. We expect that the CSPF will apply for special financial assistance during 2021 in order to continue payment of unreduced benefits through 2051.
The passage of the ARPA and the expected receipt of special financial assistance by the CSPF currently obviates our obligation to provide additional coordinating benefits to the UPS Transfer Group through 2051. These matters also triggered a remeasurement under ASC 715. Accordingly, we remeasured the plan assets and pension benefit obligation of the UPS/IBT Plan as of March 31, 2021.
The interim remeasurement resulted in an actuarial gain of $6.4 billion, reflecting reduction of the liability for coordinating benefits of $5.1 billion and a gain from other updated actuarial assumptions of $1.3 billion. The assumption gain reflects a $1.6 billion benefit from a 72 basis point increase in the discount rate compared to December 31, 2020, offset by $0.3 billion asset loss resulting from actual asset returns approximately 220 basis points below our expected return. As a result, $3.1 billion of the actuarial gain was recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income within the equity section of the consolidated balance sheet. The remaining pre-tax actuarial gain of $3.3 billion ($2.5 billion after tax) that exceeded the corridor (defined as 10% of the greater of the fair value of plan assets and the plan's projected benefit obligation) was recognized as a mark-to-market gain in the statement of consolidated income for the quarter ended March 31, 2021.
The future value of this estimate will continue to be influenced by a number of factors, including interpretations of the ARPA, future legislative actions, actuarial assumptions and the ability of the PBGC to sustain its commitments. Actual events may result in a change in our best estimate of the projected benefit obligation. We will continue to assess the impact of these uncertainties in accordance with ASC 715.
Collective Bargaining Agreements
We have approximately 327,000 employees employed under a national master agreement and various supplemental agreements with local unions affiliated with the Teamsters, of which approximately 11,000 are employees of UPS Freight. These agreements run through July 31, 2023.
We have approximately 3,000 pilots who are employed under a collective bargaining agreement with the Independent Pilots Association ("IPA"). This collective bargaining agreement becomes amendable September 1, 2023.
We have approximately 1,600 airline mechanics who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement with Teamsters Local 2727 which becomes amendable November 1, 2023. In addition, approximately 3,400 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.