President, CUPE Ontario
80 Commerce Valley Drive East, Suite 1,
Markham ON, L3T 0B2
Dear Brother Hahn,
I understand that CUPE Ontario and other unions are fighting to protect guaranteed pension indexing in the OMERS pension plan. CUPE New Brunswick applauds you in this important fight and stands with you in solidarity.
All workers deserve security in retirement. An important part of this security is knowing that your annual pension will keep up with the ongoing increases in the cost of living. If the guarantee of these increases is removed, and annual increases to a pension are not delivered, a frozen pension will quickly lose its real value. Over time, these losses can be significant. Workers need to know that their pension will hold its buying power throughout their retirement.
Here in New Brunswick, workers and retirees have faced massive and unprecedented pension attacks. Our government unilaterally converted our provincial Public Service Pension Plan from a defined benefit plan to a “target benefit” plan that provides no benefit guarantees. This change affected not only active members, but retirees as well. They called this a “Shared Risk” pension plan.
We understand that OMERS has used this same deceptive name in their quest to make your pension less secure. Here’s what we’ve learned from our experience: when they tell you they’re doing something in the interest of plan members, or “fairness” or for the “health of the plan,” you should be very skeptical. Look beyond the rhetoric to see who will really benefit from the proposed reforms: EMPLOYERS! These changes are not about sharing; they’re about shifting employer pension risks to plan members.
We also suspect they will not be satisfied with just attacking your indexation. Just as they did in New Brunswick, someday governments and employers may also come after the security of your basic plan benefits and seek to remove all guarantees. Your pension plan will be strongest over the long-term if its defined benefit character is defended by all plan members, retired and active standing in solidarity across generations. Cutting guaranteed indexing is a recipe for future generational conflict that will only further advantage employers.
The New Brunswick government continues to push its “Shared Risk” pension plans and we will continue to fight off these concessions. We stand with you in your important struggle!
CUPE NB President