Brothers and Sisters:
As we approach the six-month point of our administration, we are pleased to report that UTU finances have been improving steadily.
When we took office Jan. 1, there were forebodings of financial disaster just around the corner. For sure, there were financial difficulties, but nothing of the nature that, as we had been told, required us to surrender our independence to another organization to bail us out.
In fact, the combination of internal cost reductions — including an end to wasteful spending — plus additional dues dollars have increased our total International funds by more than $2 million. While that certainly seems like a lot of money, our cash on hand is still shy of a minimum safety level sufficient to weather strikes and other unexpected costs.
So long as we are not hit with a sudden financial shock, we will continue to add to our fund balances, each day growing financially stronger. We are pledged to continue strict cost controls — especially with regard to travel — in the face of sharply higher airline fares and health-care costs for our International staff.
The surplus of the United Transportation Union Insurance Association also continues to increase, and the surplus is on track to grow in excess of half-a-million dollars in calendar year 2008.
This is result of additional policy sales and a favorable trend in claims presented.
The UTUIA is one of the nation’s few remaining union-friendly insurance companies. Where competing insurance companies frequently are engaged in anti-union activities, such as lobbying for corporate-favored public policy, the UTUIA is an insurance company owned by union members, and it operates solely for the benefit of union families.
As for our Discipline Income Protection Plan (DIPP), it continues to face financial pressures flowing from the continued excessive discipline being issued by some carriers.
We recognize also that UTU members have been stepping up to the plate and supporting DIPP with their participation.
And we remain proud that the UTU DIPP remains steadfast in looking for ways to pay claims of participants. By contrast, other job benefit plans continue to look for ways to avoid paying claims.
As we have said previously, if the DIPP is to remain a viable service to UTU members, then UTU members must participate in large numbers. We again ask all participants to continue their membership in the DIPP fund, and to encourage your brothers and sisters also to participate.
Mike Futhey, International President
Arty Martin, Assistant President
Kim Thompson, General Secretary & Treasurer