EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS
|3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2017
|Compensation and Retirement Disclosure [Abstract]
|EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS
EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS
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, 2017 and 2016 (in millions):
During the first three months of 2017, we contributed $2.312 billion and $177 million to our company-sponsored pension and U.S. postretirement medical benefit plans, respectively. We also expect to contribute $65 and $64 million over the remainder of the year to the pension and U.S. postretirement medical benefit plans, respectively.
The UPS Retirement Plan was closed to new non-union participants effective July 1, 2016. The Company amended the UPS 401(k) Savings Plan so that employees who previously would have been eligible for participation in the UPS Retirement Plan will, in addition to current benefits under the UPS 401(k) Savings Plan, begin receiving a UPS Retirement Contribution. For employees eligible to receive the Retirement Contribution, UPS will contribute 3% to 8% of eligible pay to the UPS 401(k) Savings Plan based on years of vesting service and business unit. Contributions will be made annually in cash to the accounts of participants who are employed on December 31st of each calendar year.
Multiemployer Benefit Plans
We contribute to a number of multiemployer defined benefit and health and welfare plans under 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, 2017 and December 31, 2016 we had $864 and $866 million, respectively, recorded in "other non-current liabilities," as well as $6 million as of March 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016 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 46 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 at both March 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016 was $861 million. 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 plan 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.
In December 2014, Congress passed the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act (“MPRA”), which for the first time ever allowed 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 under the MPRA. The CSPF plan proposed to reduce retirement benefits to the CSPF participants, including the UPS Transfer Group. We vigorously challenged the proposed benefit reduction plan because we believed that it did not comply with the law and that the CSPF failed to comply with its contractual obligation to obtain our consent to reduce benefits to the UPS Transfer Group under the terms of the withdrawal agreement with the CSPF. On May 6, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Treasury rejected the proposed plan submitted by the CSPF, stating that it failed to satisfy a number of requirements set forth in the MPRA.
The CSPF has asserted that it will become insolvent in 2025 which could lead to the reduction of retirement benefits. Although there are numerous factors that could affect the CSPF’s funding status, if the CSPF were to become insolvent as they have projected, UPS may be required to provide coordinating benefits, thereby increasing the current projected benefit obligation for the UPS/IBT Plan by approximately $4 billion. The CSPF has said that it believes a legislative solution to its funding status is necessary, and we expect that the CSPF will continue to explore options to avoid insolvency.
The potential obligation to pay coordinating benefits from the UPS/IBT Plan is subject to a number of significant uncertainties, including actions that may be taken by the CSPF, the federal government or others. These actions include whether the CSPF will submit a revised pension benefit reduction plan or otherwise seek federal government assistance, the extent to which benefits are paid by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and our ability to successfully defend our legal positions, as well as the effect of discount rates and various other actuarial assumptions.
We account for this potential obligation under Accounting Standards Codification Topic 715- Compensation- Retirement Benefits (“ASC 715”). Under ASC 715 we are required 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 solution to this matter and the broader systemic problems facing multi-employer 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. Our best estimate as of the measurement date of December 31, 2016 does not incorporate this solution. Rather, our best estimate of the next most likely outcome to resolve the CSPF’s solvency concerns is that the CSPF will make another MPRA filing to forestall insolvency without reducing benefits to the UPS Transfer Group. If the CSPF attempts to reduce benefits for the UPS Transfer Group under a MPRA filing we would be in a strong legal position to prevent that from occurring given that these benefits cannot be reduced without our consent and such a reduction, without first exhausting reductions to other groups in the CSPF, would be contrary to the statute. Accordingly, our best estimate as of the measurement date of December 31, 2016 is that there is no liability to be recognized for additional coordinating benefits of the UPS/IBT Plan. However, the projected benefit obligation could materially increase as these uncertainties are resolved. We will continue to assess the impact of these uncertainties on the projected benefit obligation of the UPS/IBT Plan in accordance with ASC 715.
Collective Bargaining Agreements
As of December 31, 2016, we had approximately 268,000 employees employed under a national master agreement and various supplemental agreements with local unions affiliated with the Teamsters. During 2014, the Teamsters ratified a new national master agreement (“NMA”) with UPS that will expire on July 31, 2018. The economic provisions in the NMA included wage rate increases, as well as increased contribution rates for healthcare and pension benefits.
We have approximately 2,600 pilots who are employed under a collective bargaining agreement with the Independent Pilots Association ("IPA"). During 2016, the IPA members voted to ratify a new five-year labor contract. Terms of the agreement became effective September 1, 2016 and run through September 1, 2021. The economic provisions in the agreement included pay increases, a signing bonus and enhanced pension benefits.
Our airline mechanics are covered by a collective bargaining agreement with Teamsters Local 2727, which became amendable November 1, 2013. We are currently in negotiations with Teamsters Local 2727. In addition, approximately 3,000 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”) that will expire on July 31, 2019.