FAQs: How to Join

1.  Can anyone participate in the ILPF?

Only U.S. Teamster members can participate in the ILPF, and individual Teamsters must belong to an ILPF participating local. To become an ILPF participating local requires a membership vote and approval by the ILPF’s Trustees.  Some locals vote to participate as entire local.  In others, members of a bargaining unit, with the support of their local's leadership, may vote to participate in the ILPF while another bargaining unit in the same local votes not to participate.   If a majority of the group votes for ILPF participation, the decision applies to all members of the group.

2.  Is participation in the ILPF open only to members of the IBT’s Graphic Communications Conference?

No.  The ILPF was founded as a graphics workers pension fund, but has grown in scope over its 65 years.  When the Graphic Communications International Union merged with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in 2005, the ILPF became available to all Teamster locals.

3.  What has to happen for my local to become an ILPF participating local?

There has to be a vote within your local.  In locals with a single bargaining unit, this means a vote of the entire membership.  With the support of the leadership in locals with multiple bargaining units, individual units may vote to participate in the ILPF.  In such locals, some bargaining units may elect ILPF participation, while others within the same local may choose not to participate.

If the majority of a bargaining unit decides to participate in the ILPF, the decision applies to all members of the group.  The level of contribution is also decided by a membership vote on a group-by-group basis.  Whatever contribution your bargaining unit adopts applies to all members of the group.  For example, if the membership of your bargaining unit votes to contribute 10% of gross pay, all members of the participating bargaining unit contribute 10% of their gross pay.

4. Does where I work determine whether I can join the ILPF?

No.  Eligibility is determined by your membership in the Teamsters union and whether your local union participates in the ILPF.

5.  If my local doesn’t already participate, can I become an ILPF participant?

Individual Teamsters can participate in the ILPF only if their local union is a participating local.  If you want to participate and do not belong to an ILPF participating local, encourage your local leadership to explore the ILPF.  

6.  If I already have a defined benefit pension through my employer, can I still participate in the ILPF?

Absolutely!  The ILPF was originally designed as way for members to supplement the retirement income they would receive from their employer-funded pension.

7.  My local just finished negotiating a contract with my employer.  If we want to participate in the ILPF, do we have to wait until our contract expires four years from now?

No, you don’t have to wait. The decision to participate in the ILPF is not determined by the collective bargaining process with your employer.  It is a decision made by a vote of the membership of your local union.  Your employer has no say in the decision.

8.  What if my coworkers want to participate in the ILPF but my employer doesn’t?

Your employer has no say in the decision to participate in the ILPF.  It is a decision made by Teamsters through a vote of the membership of your local union.

9.  How do ILPF participants make their contributions?

The ILPF receives the vast majority of participant contributions through payroll deductions made by the employers and remitted to the ILPF on behalf of participants.  In cases where a member changes jobs and meets eligibility requirements to continue ILPF participation, the member may continue to directly remit his/her contributions on a monthly basis, as described in the Plan's Summary Plan Description.

10.  Do I have to participate if my Local does, and what do I have to contribute?

In most cases, if your local participates, then you must participate.  There are some locals with multiple bargaining units where some have voted to participate in the ILPF and others have voted not to participate.  If you are a member of a bargaining unit in which the majority has voted for ILPF participation, then you must participate as well.  

The contribution level also is determined by a vote of the majority of your bargaining unit's membership and applies to all members across-the-board.  For example, if the majority within your bargaining unit votes to contribute $20/week, that is the level at which you would contribute.


11.  Do all ILPF active participants contribute the same amount from each paycheck?

No.  Contribution levels currently range from a low of $5/week to a high of 10% of gross payroll/week.  Each participating group determines its own level by a vote of its membership.  While all members within an individual bargaining unit must contribute at the same level, there is wide variance between the contribution levels of the ILPF’s 70 participating locals.   

12.  If I change jobs, can I remain an ILPF participant?

In cases where a member changes jobs and meets eligibility requirements to continue ILPF participation, the member may continue to directly remit his/her contributions on a monthly basis.

13.  Why aren’t more Teamsters participating in the ILPF?

The ILPF has only been a retirement option for Teamster members since 2005, when the Graphics Communications International Union merged with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.  As more Teamster locals become aware of the ILPF, and as the corporate assault of workers’ retirement continues, more locals are discovering the ILPF and voting to participate.  

14.  How can my local get more information about joining the ILPF?

ILPF Trustees and staff are available to speak with Local leaders and members about the benefits of ILPF participation.  Contact Executive Director Larry Mitchell to arrange a meeting at your local, 630.752.8400.

James Klug

Local 577 M
Cedarburg, WI

“It’s a rare fund and my retirement would be poor without it. I can’t think of any other fund that you get every penny you put in. When I retired, I had paid in a total of $88,000 over 39 years. If I live 25 years past my retirement age, the fund will provide a little under a million dollars in pension payments. I got what I paid in a couple of years and the rest is pure profit.

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Norma Balentine

Local 577M
Milwaukee, WI

“None of my previous jobs offered a defined benefit pension plan.  We’ve seen how the benefits provided by plans based on stocks, such as 401(k)s, can erode as the stock market plummets.   The ILPF is a gift that very few workers have – a lifelong benefit.

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Harold Moore

Local 285M
Washington, DC

“I plan on working until I’m eligible for full retirement benefits. I think the ILPF provides really excellent benefits. My contribution is taken directly out of my paycheck. I don’t have to think about it, so it’s easy to save for retirement. Belonging to the ILPF gives me a great sense of security. 

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John Greco

Local 14M
Philadelphia, PA

"The ILPF is a good investment. I’ve been working at my present job for 39 years, but the employer plan will provide me with less than $800 a month when I retire. Contrast that with the payment I’ll receive from the Fund. Even by age 63, before I plan to retire, I’ll have already earned more than twice as much a month.

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Christopher Yatchak

Local 577M
Germantown, WI

“Today’s workers fear that they might run out of retirement savings before they die. It’s important to compare how defined benefit and defined contribution pension funds work and know what you should expect. How do you make your savings last the rest of your life?

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Teamsters Local 299

New Boston, MI

“We felt like we needed to take control of our retirement. That’s why we voted to join the ILPF. The Fund is run exclusively by and for Teamsters. It was set up decades ago and has provided generations of union members with secure retirements.

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