CUPE President Wayne Lucas. — Telegram file photo
Seven Canadian Union of Public Employee (CUPE) locals met Thursday to map out a strategy for fighting cuts to a pension plan for municipal employees.
CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador president Wayne Lucas said in a news release, “As the bargaining agent for the majority of participating municipalities in that pension plan, CUPE is extremely disturbed by these changes and the manner in which they came about. Our youngest members have been told they can expect reductions of up to 30 per cent.”
The TRIO pension plan is operated by Newfoundland and Labrador Municipal Employee Benefits Inc. (NLMEB). The seven affected municipalities are Mount Pearl, Conception Bay South, Placentia, Glovertown, Holyrood, Gambo and Marystown.
Lucas said the board members of TRIO decided to make changes to the pension play with virtually no consultation with the union or the people who are actually in the pension plan.
He said the centre-piece of the union’s fight-back strategy is a court challenge which is being supported by the national public sector union. He says it is the first time a legal challenge like this has been made in the civil courts.
The seven locals will also be requesting meetings with the mayors and councils whose employees are in the TRIO pension plan to explore CUPE’s alternatives to what it terms “dramatic” cuts in benefits.
“We are optimistic that those requests will be met with a positive response,” Lucas said. “If reasonable lead time had been provided, CUPE could have used its considerable expertise in pensions to enter into meaningful dialogue about the plan.”
Lucas said CUPE is a recognized leader in the area of pensions and benefits and has provided assistance to many governments and public employers who were facing difficulties with their pension plans. “
And, we have successfully reached solutions,” Lucas said.