UAW Retirement Plan Information

by Sarah Estlund ; Updated July 27, 2017
Many former Ford employees benefit from the UAW retirement plan.

The United Automobile Workers is an international union representing members from all around the world from companies including United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America and The International Union. Of the many benefits to being a member of the UAW is the retirement plan and benefits provided by the union.

Defined Benefit vs. Defined Contribution Information

Within the UAW retirement plan there are two classifications. A union member would need to know the difference between these two. The first, defined benefit and the second, defined contribution. Defined benefit retirement plans guarantee a certain payout after the member retires. This amount is based on the member's salary and how many years the individual was a member of the plan. In a defined contribution retirement plan, the payout is not certain and is, instead, calculated from the amount of money the member contributed throughout the years and the performance of the investments.

Cash Balance Plan Information

A member wishing to combine both the defined benefit and defined contribution retirement plans can opt for what is called the cash balance retirement plan. This plan combines features of both.

Information on Rights

As a UAW member with a retirement plan, you have a few basic rights. This is information any member and retirement plan holder would need to know. Every plan is required to designate an administrator. This administrator must provide you with facts you inquire about. In few cases you will need to put the question in writing for the administrator.

You have a right to be provided with a Summary Plan Description which provides information on the UAW retirement plan. This SPD is a document which should be provided by your administrator. The SPD explains your retirement plan and provides information regarding your retirement plan. The SPD explains how the plan operates, when you become vested and what your benefits are as a member. You, as a member, do not have to request this. If you do not receive one you are to contact a UAW representative.

Information on Coverage

The UAW retirement plan covers the UAW member. This means workers in the automotive industry at General Motors, DaimlerChrysler, Delphi, Lear, Dana, American Axle, Johnson Controls and Ford; skilled trades and production workers and draftsmen, designers and engineers. This also means workers in the aerospace and defense industry at companies such as Boeing, Bell Helicopter, AM General, Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin.

Who Governs?

Information regarding the people who govern the UAW retirement plans is important to understand. The 17-member UAW International Executive Board carries out programs and policies that have been approved by the Constitutional Convention delegates. These delegates also run the daily operations of the International Union. Within those 17 members are six officers: president, four vice-presidents and a secretary-treasurer.

About the Author

Sarah Estlund is a freelance writer based out of Kansas City. Originally from the Hawkeye State, she received her degree in journalism from the University of Iowa. Estlund writes a dating column as well as more than 15 blogs ranging in topic from celebrity, fashion, pets, self-help and alternative medicine. She has a love of animals and shares that passion in her writing.

Photo Credits

  • ford gt40 in gulf blue and orange image by Jorge Moro from Fotolia.com