Bill Whispel is an old-school Teamster warehouse worker – tough, takes no flak, and proud to get the job done. After 36 years as a Local 117 member, he’s ready to gallop off into the sunset soon.

Thanks to an excellent Teamsters pension benefit through his job at Mondelez (formerly Kraft), he’s set up for a pretty rosy retirement.

Bill deserves it. Driving a forklift, receiving trailers and loading orders for Costco and Alaska Airlines as he’s done for decades is no easy task, even for someone half his age.

“Since the pandemic kicked in, we've all been busy,” he explains. “We’re a food item business and stores need to have it. They rely on us to get these products out the door.”

With a new contract, unanimously ratified this October, Bill will be leaving his younger co-workers in good hands. The agreement contains wage and pension increases along with an outstanding new benefit he and his fellow bargaining team members helped negotiate.

It’s the new Retiree’s Welfare Trust (RWT-Plus) plan that makes medical coverage more affordable for Teamsters who are looking to bridge the gap between their retirement and Medicare-eligible age of 65.

“We fought for it, and we got it,” says Bill, who’s helped negotiated the last three or four Mondelez contracts.

“Now people like me can retire at a decent age and not have to pay up the river for their medical coverage.”

Teamsters 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy praised the group on securing the benefit and for sticking together during negotiations that were fraught with the challenges of working remotely.

“Congratulations to the crew down at Mondelez,” Scearcy said. “This contract builds on the strong foundation of family wages and benefits for our members in the grocery industry. Now, with the RWT-Plus plan, these essential workers who are keeping our supermarket shelves stocked during the pandemic can be assured of excellent full-family medical coverage, not only in their working years, but also in retirement."