Enhanced Benefit Plan Provides Financial, Educational Assistance to over 350 Teamster Members and Their Dependents

During the month of September, the appointed Board of Trustees of the Teamsters and Employers Welfare and Trust of Illinois reviewed hundreds of submitted applications and signed over three hundred and fifty (350) checks on behalf of Downstate Teamsters, who are employed under the Downstate IDOT Agreement encompassing all Teamster Downstate Local Affiliates and their dependents, who are enrolled in an accredited college or university.

Common Union employee benefit plans are often available to full-time employees and in several instances, coverage will also extend to part-time employees. Benefits encompass a wide range of plans including health, both long and short-term leave plans and life insurance benefits and options. The terms of coverage and funding are negotiated documented and finalized in the bargaining agreement between the employer, the Union and other agencies or entities involved. The plans are typically funded by the employer, the employee or a combination of the two.

The Teamsters Employers Welfare Trust of Illinois have co-founded and implemented an Enhanced Benefit Plan for full and part-time employees covered under a number of Downstate Illinois Agreements by and between the Downstate Illinois State Employee Negotiating Committee (representing Local Unions 26, 50, 371, 525, 627, 722, and 916) and Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Department of Central Management Services, Transportation and Natural Resources and Protech. Members and their dependents are offered a comprehensive benefits package with the distinctive option of participating in the Educational Assistance Benefit Program.

Since the time of its inception on January 1, 2017, the Educational Assistance Benefit Program has provided Teamsters and their dependents with the ability to bridge the gap between the benefits of an education and the costliness associated with attending college by providing financial assistance to qualified individuals. The Educational Assistance Benefit Program provides financial assistance benefits through the reimbursement of all or a portion of the student’s out-of-pocket expenses including tuition, room and board, books and laboratory fees.

In order to qualify to receive financial assistance, participants must be enrolled in the Fund for at least four months prior to the start of the academic school year in which educational assistance is requested. Qualified applicants must attend a regionally accredited College or University as a full-time student and must satisfactorily complete a minimum of twenty-four (2) semester hours of course work between the start of the school year and the end of the academic year. The administration is also required to render academic transcripts and financial receipts to a third-party administrator on behalf of the student(s) by an established deadline.

When all applications have been processed, the Trustees determine the amount to distribute on behalf of all eligible students. The amount is determined based upon the number of eligible applications. An equal amount is distributed on behalf of each eligible application, up to the amount allocated, who have met all the plan requirements.

“I have to tell you that this is a highlight of my career,” affirmed Keith E. Gleason, Chairman of the Teamsters and Employers Welfare and Trust of Illinois, Joint Council No. 25 Trustee and Principal Officer of Teamsters Local 627, “when I signed these checks in the amount of $2.2 million dollars knowing that this financial assistance would help Union children further their education and realize their dreams, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride to be a part of a Union that is positively impacting the lives of their members and families.”

The appointed Union Board of Trustees of the Teamsters and Employers Welfare and Trust of Illinois also includes Kyle Bollinger, President of Teamsters Local 525 and J.P. Fyans III, Recording Secretary, Teamsters Local 916. The Board is also comprised of three Management and Employer Trustees.

Teamsters Locals 627, 525 and 916 are Affiliates of Teamsters Joint Council 25, America’s premier labor union for Chicago, Illinois and Northwest Indiana.