About the CRA Trust Fund


During contract negotiations in the mid-1980’s the United Professors of Marin, AFT Local 1610, attempted to obtain lifetime health care benefits for its future retired unit members.  The District claimed that such a benefit was not financially feasible, at least not without major salary reductions.  The membership at that time opted to drop the demand for lifetime benefits in negotiations, but decided to pursue them through other means.

UPM hired a benefit consultant, the Segal Company, to explore the possibility of creating a member supported fund to provide retirees with health care coverage.  Similar to what happened in negotiations, lifetime benefit coverage was determined to be more costly than feasible.  However, UPM saw an opportunity to provide some assistance and with the help of the Segal Company, an IRS recognized and independent trust fund was created—the Certificated Retirement Account Trust, or CRA Trust.

Established in 1989 as a 501(c)(11) under the Federal Tax Code, the CRA Trust operated on the principle of providing retirees with assistance in paying for health care benefits.  Using as a guide the amount of $100 per month in 1989 dollars, eligible retirees receive a monthly check from the Trust.  Also beginning in 1989, permanent unit members began to contribute on a monthly basis to the Trust fund.  Over the years the amount of member and employer monthly contribution has varied, as has the monthly stipend, but the contributions by employees and the payments to retirees still continue.  Today the CRA Trust has nearly one-and-a-half million dollars invested with The Standard Co., a national investment firm; and pays out $13,000 each month in benefits to nearly 100 retirees.

What can you expect from the CRA Trust as a permanent employee when you retiree?  If you were hired before 1989, when you retiree and reach age 70 and  you have at least 10 years of permanent employment with the District, you will receive a prorated benefit payment from the CRA Trust.  With 15 or more years of service you will receive 100% of the monthly benefit.

If you were hired permanently during or after 1989, the above applies with the exception that the benefit begins when you reach age 55.  For most future retirees this would mean the benefit would begin immediately upon retirement.

Consequently for anyone retired or contemplating retirement in the next 30 years, it is imperative that your CRA Trust forms are kept up to date (contact the UPM office if you are unsure) and that you notify the UPM office after retirement and when you reach the qualifying age.   

Unit members should realize that the Trust is guided by a Board of five trustees who serve two year terms.  Two of the trustees are elected by the permanent unit members and two are appointed by the UPM Executive Council.  The fifth member is the UPM president.  Also, the CRA Trust, from the first day of its existence, recognized domestic partners and same sex partners as beneficiaries under the guidelines of the Trust.  A more detailed CRA Trust information brochure is available on this site or from the UPM Office.

The CRA Trust is a separate and independent entity from the United Professors of Marin, although selected office functions are shared.

© Ira Lansing 2019