United Food & Commercial Workers

Unions and Employers

Midwest Health and Pension Funds

UFCW Calumet Region Insurance Fund

About Us

Who are the Funds?

There are two Funds—a Health Fund and a Pension Fund. The Funds cover employees of retail food stores, meat markets, nursing homes and similar industries, who are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union in the midwest region. There must be a union contract between an employer and a UFCW local union that calls for contributions to be made to the Fund on the employees’ behalf and the employer must pay the required contributions.

Most employees, but not all, are covered for both health and pension benefits. Some employees are only in one Fund. For example, the meatcutters are covered under the Health Fund but receive pension benefits from a national UFCW Industry pension fund.

Health Plan

The Health Benefits Plan provides medical, dental, life, vision and prescription drug benefits. Part-time employees generally receive individual or “single” coverage. Full-time employees receive family coverage and a short-term disability benefit. Claims are self-administered by the Fund Office. The Health Plan utilizes the resources of the BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois PPO to obtain discounts from hospitals and physicians.

Pension Plan

The Pension Plan pays benefits, based upon the years of service with participating employers, commensurate with the contribution rate paid by the employer. A full year of service is earned by working 1,600 covered hours per year. A partial year is earned by working as few as 400 hours per year. In limited cases, the Plan has recognized “prior” service for time the employee worked in covered service prior to the employer’s first union contract.

The Role of the Unions and the Employers

The unions have historically been active in the creation of the Funds and in the negotiation of contributions that allow for a decent level of benefits. The employers make the actual payments for the benefits and provide us with employee-member information on hours worked, resignations, retirements, hires, and leaves of absence. Both are active in the management of the Funds once established and funded.

Who Manages the Funds?

Each Fund has a Board of Trustees consisting of three union representatives and three representatives from the participating employers; these Boards have overall authority to manage their respective Fund. The Trustees hire an Administrator who serves as both a policy adviser to them as well as the chief operating officer of the Fund Office. The Trustees also retain the services of legal counsel, an auditor, an actuary, and various investment advisers and money managers.

Both the Health Plan and the Pension Plan are governed by the federal Taft-Hartley law and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). State laws generally do not have an impact on benefits or operations in that the federal ERISA law preempts such state laws. So, if a state adopts a mandatory benefit law, it will not apply to us. However, when the federal government adopts such a law (such as five-year vesting or minimum hospitalizations for maternity), the federal law will impact the Pension Plan and the Health Plan.

Your Fund Office

The Fund Office is your contact for information about the Health and Pension Plans. Contact the Fund Office with any question on these important benefits.