MYTHS ABOUT OUR PENSION PLAN (2)

cupe1975Negotiations/Bargaining, Pensions

MYTH

Public sector workers like University workers have “gold plated pensions”

FACT

The plan pays a modest average annual pension of $18,100.

The plan also does not provide guaranteed cost-of-living increases for retirees (also known as “indexation”). Indexation is provided on an ad hoc basis and has generally been delivered out of surplus, when surplus exists. As the cost of living increases each year, retirees under the plan do not know if their pension cheques will keep pace each year. The employer does not bear any pension liabilities associated with this risk. Pensioners have actually not seen an increase since 2008. Their pensions have since lost nearly 20% of their real value by not keeping pace with the rising cost of living. Most University plans in Canada offer better inflation protection.

 

MYTHS ABOUT OUR PENSION PLAN (1)

cupe1975Negotiations/Bargaining, Pensions

MYTHS ABOUT THE PLAN

 MYTH:

The pension plan is not sustainable

FACT

Your pension plan is sustainable. Your plan is not broken, nor is it in crisis. Language like this is used by employers to convince you that we need to abandon the pension to save the pension. This is untrue ideological language that the Employer is using to advance their bargaining agenda of attacking your retirement.

  • Funding Level Improved. Like virtually all pension plans, your plan did fall into deficit following the global financial crisis of 2009 (the worst crisis since the Great Depression). This did not mean the plan was broken. The pension system is designed to bring plans back into balance over time. The plan’s funding health has since been steadily improving since the downturn, and the 2017 valuation shows that the plan is now back in a small surplus on the actuary’s best estimate.
  • University Costs Significantly Declining. The 2017 valuation also allowed University contributions to decline significantly in 2018, with further reductions projected in the coming years.
  • History of Plan Surpluses. The challenging period since 2009 follows a long period in which the pension plan was in surplus. As described in more detail below, the University used significant portions of this surplus to reduce their own contributions to the plan (“partial contribution holidays”).
  • Actuarial Basis Safer. Over the past decade, the University has accounted for the fact that Canadians are living (and will continue to live) longer and has made its actuarial assumptions more conservative, which lowers the risk of future deficits. These costs have already been factored into the plan.
  • CUPE 1975 Reasonable Pension Partner. CUPE 1975 has always recognized the fact that the period after the downturn required the University to make extra contributions to the plan. In this and the last round of bargaining, we offered changes to the plan that would have significantly mitigated these cost increases. These proposals were all rejected by the University. Our offer in the current round would ensure that the burden of any future downturns would be shared on a 50/50 basis, on top of reducing annual University costs by millions. The University has rejected this offer.
  • Solvency Funding Exemption. In 2013 the provincial government changed pension funding rules to exempt the University permanently from its “solvency” funding obligation, which makes the plan’s funding requirements much more stable over time, helping the University to fund the plan. CUPE publicly supported this exemption.
  • Pension Costs in Perspective. The University cites pension costs in the millions in the hopes that members will be convinced that abandoning the DB plan is necessary to the institution from a financial perspective. The University’s budget is about one billion dollars. The total cost of your plan to the University is not even 1% of the budget. The extra contributions the University has made to the plan over the past decade is an even smaller number. Our pension proposal would shave these fractions even further. The University can afford our modest DB plan.

March 19, 2019 Rally in the Bowl: Media Links and Photos

cupe1975Negotiations/Bargaining

Hello Everyone

Thanks for making yesterday’s rally such a success. I think it sent a strong message.
Listed below Media articles and photos.
Here the web story from
Photos:

President Peter Stoicheff – We are ready to meet and talk with the Board of Governors – Give us a chance!

cupe1975Negotiations/Bargaining

 

 

Photo taken at the Board of Governor’s reception on campus on March 18th.  Craig Hannah, President CUPE Local 1975 and Peter Stoicheff share greetings.

CUPE 1975 Members: Please join your Negotiation team today at our noon hour rally!  If we make a little noise someone might just listen to us!   Meet at Nobel Plaza in front of the Peter McKinnon Building at noon.  

We need to get the message to the Board of Governor’s that this University works only because we do!  

 

Bargaining snapshot: Top 10 issues

cupe1975Negotiations/Bargaining

  1. CUPE 1975 members are working harder. Students and square footage of buildings on campus have grown significantly over recent decades. But CUPE 1975 job numbers haven’t grown at all. Senior Administrator positions, on the other hand, have doubled over this time! What’s our reward for working harder? Your employer is proposing to gut your collective agreement with massive wage and pension concessions.
  2. The University can afford our proposal. Our pension plan currently costs less than one per cent of the University’s annual budget. The Chair of the University’s Board of Governors says that the University’s strong credit rating is “a key indicator of the University’s excellent financial management and financial situation.” Other pension plans on campus (even though they are significantly inferior plans) cost much more per member, because CUPE 1975 members are not paid as much as other workers on campus.
  3. The University’s proposed “signing bonus” is being used to gloss over a 3 year wage freeze. A lump sum like a “signing bonus” is paid only once, whereas the wage increases CUPE 1975 is proposing are paid every year for the rest of your career (including on a retroactive basis).
  4. CUPE 1975’s wage proposal would mean more retro pay than the “signing bonus” for the vast majority of members, with the real bonus of higher wages going forward for all.
  5. The University’s proposed wage freeze is a massive, permanent concession that will mean tens of thousands of dollars in losses over the working and retired lives of most CUPE 1975 members. Within a decade, the average CUPE member would have lost a total of about $25,000 from the gaping hole in their annual earnings left by the 0/0/0.
  6. The University wants to replace your modest but secure defined benefit pension with one of two inferior pension options. They want to shift all of the pension risks onto the backs of their hard working staff, who will be left not knowing what they will receive in pension each year of retirement. Insecure pensions earned going forward could be worth around 20-25% less than the modest but secure benefits workers currently earn. But since the University is pushing a non-guaranteed plan, these cuts could be even greater. Workers deserve more.
  7. The vast majority of public sector workers and University workers in Canada continue to be members of DB pension plans. The University of Saskatchewan should be no different.
  8. CUPE 1975 has proposed a full compromise which would share the risks of funding secure DB benefits between active members and the University, on top of saving the University millions each year in pension costs. Our reasonable compromise proposal was rejected by the University since it did not represent a full capitulation to their pension agenda.
  9. Past pension promises are under attack in Canada. Other governments have implemented or are considering implementing legal changes that would allow employers to walk away from pension promises they have already made to workers and retirees, replacing guaranteed pensions retroactively with insecure target benefit pensions. If the Government of Saskatchewan followed suit, the University could implement similar changes, unless CUPE 1975 has joint control of your pension plan. This is what we are trying to achieve in this round of bargaining. The stakes are incredibly high for all active and retired members.
  10. Our pension plan is sustainable. Most plans fell into deficit after the global financial crisis a decade ago, but our plan has been steadily recovering since and is now essentially back in balance. University pension costs have come down dramatically over the past year, with further reductions projected in coming years. When the plan was in surplus for decades prior to the financial crisis, the University was happy to take $28 million of “partial contribution holidays” over 17 years – essentially using our pension surplus to pay portions of their own required contributions to the plan.

 

Local 1975 is fighting to protect our pension plan.  We are fighting for fair wage increases. We are fighting for you.

And with your help, we can win.

What can you do?

 

 

Negotiations Update Meeting for CUPE 1975 Members

cupe1975Bargaining Updates, Negotiations/Bargaining

CUPE 1975 Members
Special Negotiations Update Meeting

​​​​​​​Date: Monday March 11, 2019
Time: 4:30 pm

Room:  1150 Health Sciences Lecture Theatre (next to Tim Horton’s Coffee)

Agenda:

Pensions Discussions/Expert Mark Janson from CUPE National in attendance
(Come out, and meet Mark Jansen, the man behind the voice at our last update meeting)
Wage discussion
Labour Board Hearings – impact on CUPE members
Questions from our Members

If you work a night shift:

  • Be sure to inform your supervisors/assistant managers
  • No need to sign in and sign out when attending the meeting
  • You must sign the attendance sheet at the meeting; and
  • Your supper break will be the same (6:00pm-6:30pm)

You MUST attend the meeting and sign the attendance record for you to be paid for your time.

 

Negotiations Update

cupe1975Negotiations/Bargaining

Negotiations Update!

It is CUPE’s desire to achieve a collective agreement at the bargaining table.  CUPE has reached out to the University of Saskatchewan through the mediator, with a request to meet, and the employer has agreed to return to the bargaining table.  It is CUPE’s intent to have discussions with the Employer about questions and concerns they have raised through their website about our Jointly Sponsored Pension Plan proposal.  The meeting has been scheduled for  March 15, 2019.

 

 

Labour Relations Board Update

cupe1975Negotiations/Bargaining

On Thursday, Feb. 28th the Labour Relations Board heard arguments from CUPE and the University regarding whether or not the U of S is an essential services employer.  The Labour Relations Board determined they needed a full hearing before they could make that determination.  Dates for the hearing have been scheduled for March 26-28.

 

Rally in the Bowl

cupe1975Pensions

A fair pension plan, reasonable wage increases.  We deserve this.
Join us in the bowl (Nobel Plaza, near the Peter McKinnon Building) at noon to show your support for your union and send a strong message to the administration:
PAWS OFF OUR PENSION!

March 19th, Noon
Nobel Plaza, the Bowl
All are welcome to join us.

 

A Message from your Negotiating Committee

cupe1975Bargaining Updates, Uncategorized

As many of you have heard or seen over the last few hours the CBC and the Star phoenix among others have reports on our special meeting/media conference held on Tuesday at noon. Thanks again to those of you who attended and we apologise to those of you that were unable to find a spot in the room. We were unable to source a larger room and we felt that we really needed to bring this fight to the decision makers of the University, Peter Stoicheff and the Board of Governors. The first half hour focused on bringing the media up to speed on our side of the story and to hear from other unions on campus – ASPA and the Sessional Lecturers’- about their thoughts on our struggles and the common problem all unions on campus are having in dealing with this administration. We didn’t have any “new information” to share with you the members but we did field a number of questions regarding the letters many of you received with the employers spin on their previous offers. This was not a new offer and it is not one we will vote on. There were many questions in regards to the proposed wage model. We had agreed at the bargaining table to listen to their proposal in regards to a new wage model but we are far apart on accepting or agreeing to anything. As many of you would recall at our open house a month ago we pointed out that using all the “employers” data, 42 per cent of you would be limited to a 1 per cent increment “at best” in the first year of this proposal, and we know that 42 per cent would increase each year afterwards. It would not take long before we would be at over 50 per cent of our membership receiving 1 per cent or less of increment annually. Of the 42 per cent of you impacted by “The University’s” offer, we have heard from a number of you that would be placed in the top of a phase with no wage increases, through the increment model or through negotiated wage increases for years. This model is not in our best interest to accept but you can see why the University wants to implement it. IT SAVES THEM MONEY. It decreases their payroll costs, just as implementing a different pension plan would SAVE THEM MONEY. Just as a signing bonus of 1500, or 3000 dollars would SAVE THEM MONEY.  We are planning to host another Open House in March and we will present to you what the “dollar” difference will be instead of just percentages. Please follow our web page and FaceBook page for times and dates. We look forward to seeing you there and answering all your questions and concerns.

Your Negotiating Committee

 

Thank you!

cupe1975Bargaining Updates, Uncategorized

Thank you to all the members who came out to support the press conference and receive clarity on some issues they had. A big thank you to the other locals unions on campus who came out and voiced their support for our fight and to acknowledge that they too, had similar issues and concerns with management at the University. As you all saw the University continues to present their same offer while trying to spin it as being a generous offer. We do acknowledge that they are creative in their spin we only wish they would spend as much time and energy on trying to achieve a fair and equitable contract to our members. We are looking at hosting more information meetings in various forms in the upcoming months to answer any and all questions and concerns you might have as we pursue our goal of negotiating a fair contract for all of you. Thanks again. Your support is appreciated.

Your Bargaining Committee.

 

Special Meeting with Press Conference

cupe1975Bargaining Updates, Negotiations/Bargaining, Uncategorized

Special meeting with a press conference.  Further to this we will be having another special members meeting in late March for those who were unable to attend the last special members meeting.  This meeting will address some outstanding issues pertaining to bargaining.

Tuesday, February 26th
Noon-1p.m.
Room 1B11 Health Sciences Building

 

Summer School – May 26-31, 2019

cupe1975Schools Conventions & Workshop, Uncategorized

Please be aware that registration must be done through the CUPE 1975 office, not through the link that is on the brochure.  Call the office at (306) 966-7015 or email at cupe1975@sasktel.net if you are interested in registering.
There are a limited amount of spaces available.

Brochure_Summer_School_2019

CUPE_1975_Education_Criteria_and_Application (please fill out and send to “CUPE 1975, 21 McLean Hall”)

 

“Wear CUPE” Contest

cupe1975Miscellaneous, Uncategorized

We want to see your CUPE swag!  Send a photo of yourself wearing CUPE gear to the Facebook group (CUPE 1975) for a chance to win Blades tickets.  You will be notified by email on Thursday afternoon if you are a winner.  Please be aware that photos will be posted on our Facebook group, (CUPE 1975) which is a closed group for members only.  If you do not wish for your photo to be used you can privately email us the picture to enter the contest, but indicate you don’t want your image used.