August 15, 2012
Dear Mr. Flynn,
I have worked as a Support Staff employee at Sheridan College for almost 12 years and I am with the CAAT Pension Plan. The proposed changes being put forward by Premier McGuinty to public sector pensions are a bad idea. My pension plan is just fine, the way it is.
The government claims that there are a number of issues they wish to address by reforming my pension plan: a) moving to a 50/50 cost sharing, b) ensuring plans are fully funded, stable and viable, c) introduction of a dispute resolution process, d) pooling assets to lower costs, e) restricting governance by imposing that deficits can only be addressed by benefit reductions and not contribution increases and, f) changing governance from member trustees to professional trustees.
My plan already has a 50/50 cost sharing, put in place by my responsible member trustees from the inception of the plan.
My plan is fully funded and currently has a going concern surplus of 154 million dollars. My plan uses a prudent blend of realistic assumptions, a diversified asset mix, actuarial smoothing and other measures to manage intergenerational equity, and minimize volatility at the same time as securing pension benefits. The plan’s history shows it is stable and viable. The government has failed to prove that my plan is not.
My plan already has a dispute resolution process. It has rarely been used as all of the trustees and sponsors realize that the best plan is one where the parties work together in the best interest of plan members and plan sponsors.
My plan’s investment program is as sophisticated, assets as diversified and the operations as efficient as larger funds. This is in part because plan design, investments, risk tolerance, risk management, governance, communication and education – all of which are part of the pension plan value and efficiency equation – are aligned under one governance structure across the post-secondary education sector. I realize that pooling assets to make a larger fund may seem attractive, however, bigger is not always better. If pooling is to be considered then, thought must be given to aligning like minded stakeholders and not just done for the purpose of appearing to do something. My plan knows who it should align itself with, and is investigating this on their own. Forced pooling of assets would not be in the best interest of my plan.
My plan is part of an agreement I have with my employer, to defer wages so that I can retire with dignity. It is not a “get rich” scheme. It is however, a way for me to retire with enough to live on without sinking into poverty and finding it necessary to rely on social programs. It is not “gold-plated” by any means. The average support staff pension is $12,000.00 per year.
My plan does not need to be managed by the very people who manufactured our current economic environment. Having members involved with the plan is crucial. I want someone involved that has an interest in how well the plan is functioning as they have a vested interest in ensuring that the plan is prudent, sound, and maintains the promise to deliver a pension to members when they retire.
The proposed changes being put forward by Premier McGuinty to public sector pensions are a bad idea. My pension is just fine the way it is. It does not need the government’s interference.
These have been difficult economic times, especially for pension plans. With low interest rates, and markets that are not consistent, my plan has done exceptionally well. It is because of the forethought of the trustees and sponsors that it has matured into a plan that I know I can rely on.
As an MPP you were elected and took an oath to represent the people of your riding. I’m asking you to fulfill your oath and represent me and to oppose any legislation that threatens my pension. I am also asking you to deliver a message to our Premier and his government; Keep your hands off my pension plan!
I look forward to your response to this matter and your commitment to ensuring Premier McGuinty and this government keeps their hands off my pension plan. I would also like to offer you an invitation to come to Sheridan College and engage in a dialogue with your constittuints on this issue.
V.P. Communications, OPSEU Local 245
Raises ordered for 16,000 health-care workers despite pay freeze
An independent arbitrator has awarded pay raises to about 16,000 unionized nurses and other hospital workers in spite of the Liberal government’s public-sector wage freeze, the Star has learned.
Dozens of hospitals — including Mount Sinai, North York General, Sunnybrook, and Toronto East General — have been ordered to give Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members 2 per cent annual increases over two years.
This flies in the face of Finance Minister Dwight Duncan’s March budget, which urged a two-year freeze on wages for 1.06 million nurses, teachers, bureaucrats, and other public servants to alleviate the $19.7 billion deficit.
“While there is no doubt that this province has fallen upon difficult economic times, we must consider the full range of relevant economic indicators as they impact upon collectively bargained terms and conditions of employment,” wrote arbitrator Kevin Burkett.
“Government pronouncements of intent with respect to future funding are not, in and of themselves, sufficient to override what would otherwise be the content of an arbitrated award,” continued Burkett.
“A legislated directive would be required for this to happen,” he said, adding a precedent was set when hospital staffers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Canadian Auto Workers received 2 per cent annual hikes prior to the budget.
Burkett said SEIU members would be “at a significant disadvantage” to their coworkers in other unions if they weren’t treated the same.
But Duncan insisted the province, which has already passed legislation for a two-year pay freeze on 350,000 non-unionized public servants, cannot afford such settlements.
“We won’t be transferring additional funds to accommodate them. That’s just the bottom line,” the finance minister said in an interview Monday.
“For those that reach non-compliant agreements, they’ll have to find the money elsewhere.”
Duncan said he was concerned by the arbitrators’ language in recent settlements because they are awarding pay increases the cash-strapped government cannot fund.
“What troubles me as the finance minister is that people who are unelected can effectively impact dramatically on costs to the budget. Now, there’s a trade-off — that’s no strikes and so on,” he said.
Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) president and CEO Tom Closson said the government should enact legislation capping what arbitrators can award so there is “equity” between non-unionized and unionized health workers.
“It’s an unlevel playing field,” said Closson.
“We need the government to come up with a plan, because we have an awful lot of frustrated hospital workers,” he said.
The Liberals have refused to impose a wage freeze on union members or reprise former NDP premier Bob Rae’s 1993 reopening of collective agreements with unpaid “Rae Days.”
“It’s a much different legal environment than there was back in the early ’90s,” said Duncan, referring to a 2007 Supreme Court of Canada decision striking down a British Columbia law that dismantled union contracts and stripped job protection for health workers.
Closson, however, said the threat of a constitutional challenge “is a bit over-exaggerated.”
“What happened in British Columbia was a real extreme case where they basically tore up existing collective agreements and privatized everybody and they were all pushed out into the private sector,” the OHA president said.
“That’s very different than imposing a two-year freeze at the end of a collective agreement,” he said.
“If you leave it up to the arbitrators under the current legislation they’re always going to keep increasing (wages).”
SEIU Local 1 president Sharleen Stewart pointed out that the 15,855 employees — 7,876 full-time and 7,979 part-time — earn an average of $17 an hour.
They work in housekeeping, maintenance, and as registered practical nurses, making less than registered nurses.
“We’ve been encouraging the government to look at other means of saving money. Take a look at the (hospital) CEOs’ salaries,” said Stewart, noting top hospital executives earn up to $830,000 a year.
“You can’t take it off the front-line workers,” she said.
The settlement affects workers at 60 different sites of 38 hospitals across Ontario and is retroactive to Oct. 11, 2009 and runs through next Oct. 10 — four days after the 2011 provincial election.
From time to time, workers believe that their job has changed in context to what has been documented in their Position Description Form (PDF).
The Parties to the Collective Agreement have an agreed to process, within the Agreement to deal with these concerns. Article 18.4 is an agreed to, fair and effective way to determine if your position is accurate and properly evaluated.
For some supervisors/managers it would appear they fear this agreed to process to the extent that it has been related to me that some managers/supervisors have told workers a number of totally erroneous and false workplace outcomes should a worker exercise their rights under the agreed to Collective Agreement with the employer.
So, some “BULL” from the BOSS.
Oh, if you ask to have your job looked at, and if there is more that 30% change of duties and responsibilities, the employer must re-post the position.
This it totally a lie! There is NOTHING in the Collective Agreement that requires the employer to re-post YOUR job if there are changes to the extent that there will be a payband change.
Well, should you challenge the employer (launch a proper grievance) you will get a BLACK MARK attached to your name and that will have an impact in the future employment relationship. (really on anything that is an employment relationship)
I guess this is really up to the member concerned if you truly believe the employer is placing marks beside workers names, however this is just purely an intimidation tactic. OPSEU has negotiated terms and conditions of employment that you have had participation in from setting bargaining demands to change the collective agreement through to the final ratification of your working conditions. It is not much different if you have entered into an agreement with your neighbour about how a fence line is to be managed and respected. If you choose to not exercise your negotiated RIGHTS, well, I guess your neighbour ‘wins’.
DOING SOME RESEARCH
A workbook has been prepared for Support Staff employees in the OPSEU bargaining unit who believe their position description has been improperly classified and/or otherwise misrepresents the duties and responsibilities that has been assigned to them.
The use of this workbook is to assist the employee and the Local Union Representative in discovering the facts about their current Position Description Form (PDF) and prepare vital information about their job in order to properly support their job evaluation grievance. It is common to spend dozens of hours in preparation. This workbook is designed to keep the worker on track and focused to the issues they are in dispute over with the employer.
In addition to this workbook the worker will also need a copy of the collective agreement, the current position description form, the job evaluation manual for support staff and a grievance form. These documents are available from the Local Union Office.
In order to get the official PDF, you will need to ask human resources for a copy, and at the same time request the job evaluation information about your position. This is under article 7.2 and 7.2.1 of the collective agreement. A memo sent to HR should say something like “please provide me with a copy of my position description form along with the job evaluation information as per article 7.2 and 7.2.1 of the collective agreement.”
WHAT IS A JOB EVALUATION GRIEVANCE
A job evaluation grievance happens when an employee claims that his/her assigned job is improperly stated in the PDF and/or the factor ratings have been miscalculated resulting in a lower payband than the employee believes is correct for the position. It is the employer’s right and responsibility to assign work to their employees. In doing so however the employer must document their right to assign work in the Position Description Form (PDF) and this document must indicate all key elements about the job. PDFs should be reviewed at least every two years to ensure the document is current. If an activity or level of responsibility is not reflected in the PDF, the employer will not have considered it in rating the job. Therefore it is very important that when you review the PDF, you ensure that everything is included because one of the very first things that must happen in the step one grievance meeting is a declaration from you stating in writing whether you agree or disagree with the PDF that has been provided to you.
On your job evaluation grievance form, you will need to be able to specify the payband you believe your job should be placed in. In order to do that, you will need to analyze your PDF along with other information you may have. Here is a link to a zip file containing the Job Evaluation workbook, the How to Write a PDF manual and Job Evaluation manual. These will have the necessary factor charts to help you evaluate your PDF.
Situations that are probably not the subject of a job evaluation grievance are as follows:
- When the employee is seeking a general pay increase. General pay increases are negotiated between the Union and the Council of Compensation and Appointments.
- The employee feels they deserve more pay because they are a hard worker. The college system does not have a merit system of pay for performance.
- The employee has reached the maximum level of the pay grid that the position is assigned to. The employer values the work that is assigned in a PDF at the job rate for the position. Employees who first go into the position do not receive the job rate but receive a rate of pay lower and progress to the job rate. The employer does this because they feel they need not pay the employee the full rate for the position while the employee is still “learning” the job.
- The employee compares rates of pay to other jurisdictions in the public and private sectors. Again, these kinds of situations are claims that are more properly addressed at the provincial bargaining table between the Parties to the collective agreement.
- The employee believes they are doing the same kind of work as a co-worker who is receiving a higher payband. It is very difficult to make these kinds of comparisons because what is rated is each PDF against the Manual, not position to position.
Should you decide to grieve your PDF your first step should be to contact a steward or you VP Grievance. See opseu245.org for contact information.
President, OPSEU Local 245
Found in today’s Toronto Star is an article about public sector wage compensation,
the bottom line is the suggestion the Education and Health will see the lowest increase at about %1.4
Here’s the link:
Ontario workers can expect the lowest pay increase across the country in 2011, according to an annual report gauging employer outlook across the country.
On Tuesday the Conference Board of Canada released Compensation Planning Outlook 2011: Playing It Safe in the Face of an Unsteady Economic Recovery.
Ontario workers can expect a base pay increase of 2.6 per cent in 2011, the report showed. Pay increases for non-unionized employees are expected to average about 2.8 per cent.
“Things are not quite back to business as usual for compensation planners. The economic recovery is still unsteady and burdened by risks from abroad,” said Karla Thorpe, associate director, compensation and industrial relations, in a statement.
“The next year will require patience on the part of workers and businesses. Workers cannot yet expect strong wage gains, and businesses have been slow to see improvements in corporate balance sheets.”
The highest increases in base pay are expected in Saskatchewan, up 3.6 per cent and Alberta, up 3.1 per cent.
While economic uncertainty means modest pay increases for Canadians fewer companies are planning to freeze pay.
Fewer than 3 per cent of the public sector employers that participated said they planned to freeze pay in 2011, compared to 6 per cent the same time last year.
Private sector employers are planning increases of 2.9 per cent, compared to a 2.3 per cent planned increase by public sector employers. Those figures marked the end of several years of the public sector outpacing the private sector in base-pay salary increases.
Positions in the public sector include public service, agencies and Crown corporations, municipalities, hospitals and schools.
The highest increases are expected in the oil and gas industry, with an increase of 3.6 per cent. Base pay in natural resources (excluding oil and gas) and construction are both expected to increase by 3.5 per cent, in 2011.
The lowest increases are expected in education and health, about 1.4 per cent.
Responses were gathered from 384 Canadian organizations between June 15 and September 1, 2010. Almost all of the respondents have an employee pension plan in place.
News item from this mornings business news if you are interested.
The bottom line here is that the HST in Ont, has contributed to a year over year annual inflation rate of 2.9%
That means over 2 years with only a 0% wage increase, the “proposed” wage freeze will cost working people in Ontario 5.8% (projected forward into next year).
Inflation rate climbs but still tame
- Delta Meadowvale
- 6750 Mississauga Road – just south of the 401
- Mississauga, ON
- Phone: 1-800-422-8238
- Fax: 1-905-542-4036
Room rates: Double/single $109.00 plus taxes
Shared with another member $54.50 plus taxes
What you need to do:
- Complete the necessary forms and return to the Owen Sound Regional Office
- Call/fax the hotel and book your room before September 15, 2010
To register download the necessary registration forms
- Stewards 1: Making a Difference in the Workplace
- Stewards 2: Facing the Employer, Building Member Involvement
- Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) – Level 1
- Benefits (OPS)
- Duty to Accommodate: A Tool for Inclusive Workplaces
- Let’s Start Meeting Like This! Running Meetings that Build the Union
Main agenda items for the meeting will be to elect from the steward body, your officers of the Local. These are two year terms and we have just concluded the previous term of office. We will also be electing two members who are not stewards as trustees of the Local.
The second main agenda item will be to elect from the membership, delegates, alternates and observers to the annual OPSEU Convention which is held in Toronto. This year it is also being held a little later than usual being May 6 to 8, 2010.
Given that our GMM is being held around the normal dinner time, the Local will be providing food and beverages. (also to be confirmed but it is usually pizza and pop)
Monday March 22
TrafalgarRoad Campus Room G404
1430 Trafalgar Road
Start time will be 5:30 p.m.
Click here for a Google Map of the location.
Need a ride? Ask a steward. You can find contact information on the Stewards page.
Frederick Oliver, V P Communications Local 24
October 17 – 18
OPSEU Reigon 2 Educational
A two day event where you can learn the basics or improve your skills.Plan to attend both days.
- Stewardship A
- Stewardship B
- Organize! The nitty gritty of an organizing campaign
- Advanced grievance handling
- WSIB 2
- Duty to Accommodate
The union pays for your accommodation, meals and travel. If you have kids, they also have childcare but you need to register in advance.
The hotel rooms are based on shared accommodation, but our local 245 will pick up the other 1/2 of the room so you can have a single accommodation, or bring somebody if you like.
What you need to do:
- Complete the necessary forms and return to the Owen Sound Regional Office:
Before: FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 11, 2009
Mail: 1717 2nd Ave East, Suite 100
Owen Sound, Ontario N4K 6V4
- Call/fax the hotel and book your room before September 11, 2009!!
South Studio 2
6750 MISSISSAUGA ROAD
Click here for a Google Map of the location.
Need a ride? Ask a steward. You can find contact information on the OPSEU245 Stewardspage.
Frederick Oliver, V P Communications Local 245
Once again, it is time for the annual
Labour Day Parade/Family Picnic
OPSEU members and guests will be lining up starting at 9:30 am between Ray and Queen St. on York Blvd. in Hamilton. The parade is to start at 10:30. Picnic to follow at Dundurn Park.
Free barbecue, t-shirts (first come basis), prizes for kids and adults, and fun, fun, fun for everyone!
Don’t miss out on the musical performances and special guest speakers!!
Click here for a Google Map of the location.
Need a ride? Ask a steward. You can find contact information on the OPSEU245 Stewards page.
Frederick Oliver, V P Communications Local 245