STRONG SUPPORT TO BARGAIN PENSIONS!

cupe1975Negotiations/Bargaining

CUPE 1975 members have voted in favour of job action in a vote held on September 27 and 28th.“ Our members have made it clear that they support our bargaining committee’s fight to protect our members’ secure defined benefit pension plan,” said Craig Hannah, president of CUPE Local 1975. “This strike mandate is a clear message to the University of Saskatchewan: we demand pension issues to be dealt with at the bargaining table.”

CUPE 1975 represents 1900 members who work at the University of Saskatchewan in a variety of non-academic positions.

IMPORTANT UPDATE!

cupe1975Negotiations/Bargaining, Uncategorized

The bargaining team for CUPE 1975 will be putting forward a motion at the next General Membership Meeting in October to pay an additional $200.00 a week non-taxable from CUPE 1975’s strike fund to members that participate in the strike.  This will be over and above the $300.00 non-taxable a week that striking workers get form CUPE National

STRIKE VOTE AND RALLY TODAY! PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING

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At 4:30 there will be a rally – speakers will speak to approximately 5:05 if the meeting starts on time.  After that time you can stay in the room at 143 or 146 Arts and ask questions from the Negotiations team.  All others who cannot stay can then proceed to vote at the various stations set up.

We have the two rooms until 7:30 pm.

 

CUPE’S Response to the University email sent to all our members Sept. 24th

cupe1975Negotiations/Bargaining, Uncategorized

U of S – Pension Plan Facts – Response-1

Questions and Answers update September 25

Remember to Vote:  Vote and Rally 4:30 to 7:30 pm  Sept. 27th Arts 143 and 146.  All day Voting Sept. 28th  from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm.  Location: Grad Students Common – Emmanuel and St. Chad Bldg. directly behind McLean Hall.  Follow the signs.  Members please read the above attachments.  CUPE 1975’s response to the email sent out by the University to our members on September 24, 2018.  If you still have questions please do not hesitate to call the union office at 966-7015.  We have also updated the Questions and Answers.

936 – Emmanuel and St. Chad Chapel

Voting on Sept. 28th (Friday) will be held at Emmanuel and St. Chad which is located across from new Health Sciences bldg. and Dental Clinic.  Directly behind McLean Hall.

Image result for emmanuel and st. chad university of saskatchewan

Questions and Answers from your Negotiating team (update Sept. 25th 4:10)

cupe1975Negotiations/Bargaining

Questions and Answers September 25, 2018

Part II.  (In addition to the link provided below)

Can you explain to me how the proposed new pay scales/bands would work? I am currently in a phase 4 position- would I remain in a phase 4 in the new system.  What if I don’t agree with my placement?

Your bargaining team had very preliminary talks at negotiations with the employer in regards to a proposed pay band system. We had identified many things that we wanted more clarity on.  We believe in their haste to bring an offer to the table, the employer glossed over many of the things that will impact you the member, one of them being having no appeal mechanism to challenge these new placements.

How would essential services work if we went out on strike?  Who would be deemed essential?

The positions that would be deemed essential would be negotiated between the employer and CUPE 1975.  In the event of a disagreement the labour board will be involved.

 

Can CUPE 1975 send me a personal email like the employer to keep me posted on any updates on my USASK email account?

CUPE 1975 does not have access to the employers email system.  All emails CUPE 1975 sends through USASK email have to be approved and edited by the employer first.  We will continue to keep you the member posted through our Web Page, your personal email system where members have provided your personal emails (no USASK), our Facebook page and mail outs.

 

The negotiating team has provided answers to the questions you may have in regards to negotiations and upcoming strike vote.

Click on the attached Link: Questions and Answers from your CUPE Local Negotiations Team

Pension FAQ 2018 – Your pension questions answered!

cupe1975Bargaining, Negotiations/Bargaining, Pensions

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What kind of pension plan do we have?

You have a Defined Benefit (DB) pension plan. This type of pension plan promises you a set amount of annual pension throughout your retirement. The specific provisions and calculations are available in your member pension booklets. DB plans are the best type of pension for workers because they provide benefit security, since the pension is set by a legally-binding defined pension formula, rather than being left solely to the whims of the stock market. Only a DB plan can provide workers with real retirement security.

What does the University want?

While the University’s precise plan is still unclear, we know they want to abandon the Defined Benefit nature of your plan. They prefer a Defined Contribution or “Target” Benefit approach, both of which put plan risks entirely on the backs on plan members. Under these plans, your pension is not secure, cannot be known and will ultimately vary based on the ups and downs of the stock market. In short, the University wants to shift the risks associated with the pension plan entirely to plan members. If the plan falls into deficit again, the University would rather members “pay” for the deficit by reducing their benefits, rather than the University having to make any extra payments into the plan.

CUPE 1975 has and will continue to strongly reject the University’s approach. It would be a radical downgrade in the retirement security and the compensation of hard-working CUPE 1975 members.

 How is our DB pension plan doing?

The University claims the pension is in crisis and is unsustainable. We strongly disagree.

Your pension plan is on sound footing and is sustainable. Every year, a pension actuary evaluates the health of the plan – looking both at the value of the assets in the pension fund and the value of the pension promises made to date. The most recent actuarial report shows that the plan is now “fully funded” on the actuary’s best estimate (plan’s assets = plan’s liabilities). University pension contributions are projected to fall significantly (nearly $3 million/year) in the coming years.

Virtually all pension plans (including your plan) experienced deficits after the market crisis of 2008-09 (the worst crisis since the Great Depression). A deficit does not mean the plan is broken or is in “crisis.” The pension system is designed to bring funds back into balance over time. This is exactly what happened to your plan. The plan fell to a funding low of 86% after the crisis. It has since been balancing this deficit and has now returned to full funding. During the downturn, the University claimed the plan was permanently broken and unsustainable. The Union correctly argued that the downturn was temporary and no excuse to permanently abandon the plan.

The University has also significantly conservatized the actuarial basis of the plan in recent years. Put simply, they have instructed the plan actuary to base pension calculations on the fact that plan members are living longer, and that market return expectations are lower than they were in recent decades. These new assumptions have already been built into the actuarial valuations of the plan, and they will help minimize the risk of the plan under-performing vs. expectations in the years ahead.

In 2013, the provincial government also permanently exempted the employer from making “solvency” payments into the pension plan, which puts University pension costs on a much more stable footing going forward.

We should also not forget that the pension plan was in surplus for decades. During this time, the University happily used portions of our pension surplus to reduce it’s the contributions it was required to pay by law into to the plan (“partial contribution holiday”).

How much of our pension surplus did the University use for its own purposes?

From 1993-2009, the University took 17 years of partial contribution holidays (using pension surplus to pay for a portion of the University’s required contributions to the plan each year). These holidays total more than $36 million in 2018 dollars. Accounting for lost investment returns that could have been realized on these contributions – had they been made – would push a total figure even higher.

It is also worth highlighting the 2009 partial holiday. The year after the financial crisis (-16% return) and the year after the last indexation was delivered to retirees, the University used $2 million of plan surplus to cover a portion of its own contribution obligation.

These decisions were not only unwise. The Union believes at least one and likely more of these holidays were illegal and violated the plan text. We have filed a grievance on this issue which we put into abeyance in a good faith effort to settle a collective agreement regarding pension.

Did the University have to make extra contributions to the pension plan to help balance the deficit?

Yes. The University has been making “special payments” to the plan since 2010. These payments are projected to decline in the coming years.

What has CUPE done in response to the increase in pension costs?

CUPE has a long record of listening to the University’s concerns and engaging in honest and good faith bargaining about pension costs.

Member contribution rate increases were agreed to at the bargaining table and increased from below 5% to 8.5% between 2008-2011. Increasing the member contribution rate helped to lower the total amount the University was required to contribute to the plan.

In the 2013-2014 round of bargaining, CUPE 1975 again recognized that the employer’s pension costs had increased and made good faith proposals to mitigate a significant portion of these University costs. The Union tabled further member contribution rate increases and temporary reductions in future service pension benefits. This package would have seen union members bearing half of the University’s increased pension costs. These changes would have saved the University $2.5 million per year. The University rejected this proposal at the bargaining table and is now trying to attack our ability to even bargain changes to our plan.

Is our pension plan “gold plated”?

No! Your pension plan provides a modest benefit that is earned gradually through your years of service and your own financial contribution to the plan.

The average benefit paid by the plan is $18,100 annually.

The pension does not promise cost-of-living increases in retirement (“indexation”), as many other plans do. So when the cost of goods and services goes up each year in retirement, CUPE 1975 retirees do not know if their pension will increase to keep pace, or if it will increase at all. Pensioners have 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 pension plans in Canada offer better indexation provisions.

What kind of pension do other University workers in Canada have?

The vast majority of university sector workers continue to be members of DB plans.

Our counterparts at the University of Regina have a DB plan.

Some faculty members on campus are members of a DC plan, but this change was voluntary.

There is no reason that CUPE 1975 members should not have the industry standard pension plan that works fine at the vast majority of other Universities in the country.

What is CUPE doing for the workers in Canada who don’t have a pension at work?

CUPE strongly believes that all workers deserve a decent and secure retirement. This is why we played a major role in the labour movement’s recent campaign to expand the Canada Pension Plan. In 2016, this campaign scored an important victory as Canadian governments agreed to modestly increase CPP benefits for all workers in Canada. This was an important victory, but there is still room for improvement and CUPE will continue to fight for retirement security for all workers in Canada.

What about the arbitration award?

In 2015 the University filed a grievance over the Union’s view that language in our collective agreement gave us the right to negotiate pensions. By filing this grievance, the University demonstrated that it believes this is a right our members should not have. The university’s decision to file a grievance regarding its ability to unilaterally amend the plan is offensive and completely counter to the spirit of negotiation that has always been—and should continue to be—at this table.

Surprisingly, Arbitrator Hornung sided with the University and ruled that our current collective agreement on pension is not strong enough to protect against unilateral changes to the plan. Since we are in collective bargaining, we have to add language regarding our right to bargain pensions.

While Arbitrator Hornung has ruled that the University may have a legal right to unilaterally amend the plan, this does not make this justified or acceptable to Local 1975 members, particularly given our history of honestly trying to deal with pension issues in bargaining. Pension is a major part of compensation and a major reason our members come to work every day. Our members will not accept the University unilaterally telling them what their pension will or will not be. This would permanently damage labour relations on campus.

What has the Union proposed?

The Union has proposed language that would require that changes to the plan must be agreed to by the Union.

If the University agrees to this language, the Union is fully prepared to continue our negotiations about pension plan design from the previous round. We do not need to re-state our demonstrated record of acting seriously and in good faith on this issue.

Are we in this fight alone?

No! We have 650,000 members of CUPE National and the resources of the largest union in Canada standing behind us. Our union takes pension disputes very seriously. Our locals have won many important pension fights and emerged stronger and more united.

cupe1975Negotiations/Bargaining

NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE SEPTEMBER 18, 2018

 At the General Membership Meeting on September 18, 2018 CUPE 1975 members overwhelmingly voted in favour of directing their bargaining team to conduct a strike vote.  The details are as follows:

IMPORTANT BARGAINING UPDATE

After almost two years of bargaining, your Local 1975 bargaining committee has served written notice to the Employer and the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety that the union and the University of Saskatchewan have reached an impasse in the current round of negotiations.

The main sticking point in negotiations is our pension plan. The University is refusing to talk pensions at the bargaining table, and is threatening to make unilateral cuts to your pension plan, which could drastically reduce your hard fought retirement benefits.

CUPE 1975 and the University of Saskatchewan have a long history of engaging in serious and good faith bargaining over our pension plan. We see no reason that this practice should stop.

It is imperative that we fight to strengthen the pension language in our collective agreement so we can continue to have a voice in changes to our pension plan.

This is why we are seeking a strong strike mandate from our membership.  We need to send a message to the Employer that we will fight for our right to have a say in our retirement security.

After decades of hard work and paying into the pension plan, our members deserve to know that they can count on their pension in retirement.

We will continue to do our best to reach a fair deal at the bargaining table. Now that we have filed for impasse this includes working through the conciliation process with a government appointed mediator and the Employer to try to reach a deal. As this process unfolds, it is important we show the Employer that we are united and ready to stand together for our pension plan.

A RALLY  will be held on September 27th  at 4:30 pm  in Rooms 143 and 146 Arts Bldg  and will feature Mark Hancock, CUPE National President, and Jerrett Clark, President of the CUPE Local at Carleton University who just successfully won a similar pension fight.  Location: 

 Following the rally on September 27th a strike vote will take place until 7:30 pm in rooms 143 & 146 of the Arts Building.   The strike vote will continue on September 28th in the Graduate Students’ Association Commons, located directly behind McLean Hall across from the Dental Clinic from the hours of 7:30 am to 5:30 pm. To learn more about our pension plan read the document “Frequently Asked Questions” which can be found by visiting our website at cupe1975.ca.

In solidarity, Your Bargaining Committee,

Craig Hannah, Bob Jones, Ryan Klassen, Natalie Laing, Jeff Theis, Ann Iwanchuk

 

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

CUPE COMMUNIQUE’

Canadian Union of Public Employees   CUPE.CA

September 18, 2018 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 Media Release: CUPE Local 1975 says “Paws off our pensions” to the U of S and files for impasse

(Saskatoon) After almost two years of bargaining, your Local 1975 bargaining committee has served written notice to the employer and the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety that the union and the University of Saskatchewan have reached an impasse in the current round of negotiations.

The main sticking point in negotiations is the pension plan. The University is refusing to talk pensions at the bargaining table and is threatening to make unilateral cuts to the pension plan.

“CUPE 1975 and the University of Saskatchewan have a long history of engaging in serious and good faith bargaining over our pension plan. We see no reason that this practice should stop,” said Craig Hannah, president of CUPE Local 1975. “If the University has their way, workers will no longer have a voice when it comes to their retirement security.”

In 2015, the University filed a grievance over the union’s view that language in our collective agreement gave us the right to negotiate pensions. Despite the parties negotiating changes to the pension plan for 65 years, Arbitrator Hornung sided with the University and ruled that the current collective agreement on pension is not strong enough to protect against unilateral changes to the plan. Since the local is currently in collective bargaining, they are seeking to add language regarding their right to bargain pensions.

“The average benefit paid to members of the local enrolled in the pension plan is just $18,100 annually, but the knowledge that we have a pension we can count on is a major part of compensation and a major reason our members come to work every day,” said Hannah.  “Our members will not accept the University unilaterally telling them what their pension will or will not be.”

“After decades of hard work and paying into the pension plan, the dedicated people who make U of S work need to know that they can count on their pension in retirement,” said Hannah. “It is imperative that we fight to strengthen the pension language in our collective agreement, so we can continue to have a voice in changes to our pension plan.”

CUPE 1975 represents 1900 members who work at the University of Saskatchewan in a variety of non-academic positions.

Note: Date for September General Membership Meeting moved to September 18th.

cupe1975Miscellaneous

CUPE 1975 MEMBERS

Please note that the General Membership meeting which was to be held

September 25, 2018 has been moved up one week to Tuesday September 18,2018

From 12:00 to 1:00 pm.  The meeting will take place in Room 1B11 Health Sciences Bldg.

We will go through the Agenda and also have  important update information in regards to Negotiations. 

Where is Room 1B11 Health Sciences Bldg? If you are on ground  floor of the HLTH Sciences bdlg, go one floor up. If coming off elevator go straight down the long hallway and at the end hang a left.  Room 1B11 will be on the left.

 

Pancake Breakfast Thursday September 6, 2018-Please see attached poster

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2018 Pancake Breakfast Poster-Flyer (002)

Welcome Week
Free Pancake Breakfast
In The Bowl
7:30am to10:00 am
Everyone welcome!
*Gluten free pancakes will be available
SPONSORED BY UNIONS ON CAMPUS CUPE 1975 University Employees’ Union, USFA- Faculty Association,ASPA (Administrative and Supervisory Personnel Association)
UGPW (Public Service Alliance of Canada Local 40004), CUPE 3287 (The Sessional Lecturers), St. Thomas More Faculty Union

Saskatoon District Labour Council BBQ September 3, 2018

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The SDLC with support from members for CUPE Local 1975 is proud to host the 20th annual
LABOUR DAY BBQ
Please join us as we celebrate the achievements of working people and recognize the contributions unions make to the well-being of our communities on
Monday, September 3, 2018
Victoria Park (by Riversdale Pool)
11:30 am to 1:30 pm
Food, entertainment, children’s activities, and lots of fun!

More information (open Link)

Labour Day BBQ Poster 2018

BBQ Volunteer Information