In the past 6 months I have been at training seminars and meetings across the country advising people of the potential for changes in our pension plan and the certainty that pension benefits will make an appearance during the upcoming round of collective bargaining.
As I have said, we are, through the all-unions forum Nav Canada Bargaining Agents Association (NCBAA), engaging the employer in discussions about pension plan reform. The purpose of this is to determine, in a non-prejudicial forum, whether a suitable arrangement that could be handed off to the individual unions for their consideration can be arrived at. To date this has not been achieved and although a time line before summer was conceivable that has proven impossible for a number of reasons and now appears to be more likely, if at all, in the fall.
The principle activity in these discussions has been focused on ways to limit the volatility that comes with solvency calculations as prescribed by law. It appears that to accomplish this goal we must improve the pension benefit in several ways that would create a benefit that is the same or better than what we enjoy today. The BoD will not consider anything less.
Should a proposal come forward it will require your ratification.
There are a number of different ideas ranging from basic plan design changes to more creative ideas around the whole plan including indexation, basic benefits and CPP that may form part of any package. It is because of the need to create a superior plan that we need to be careful that all of the appropriate checks and balances are in place, that that government approvals are ensured, that all the unions and the company are satisfied prior to the individual unions work starting that we have recognized our self-imposed target date was not achievable.
Pensions are a very emotional issue and lend themselves to some very heated debates. It is also very likely that some facts get changed or muddled in the re-telling and that is the purpose of this letter, to set the record straight and to inform those of you who have not attended a meeting.
There is no agreed to “deal”.
Any proposal must be “as good as or better” or it will be rejected.
Any proposal must go to the CATCA BoD for assessment and agreement to proceed.
Any proposal must go to a full membership ratification.