Pension reform introduced by NDP government

EDMONTON – Historic reform of public sector pension plans was introduced in the Legislature this week and is expected to be law by early December.

After months of discussion with unions and other stakeholders, Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci introduced Bill 27, making the Local Authorities Pension Plan (and two other plans) fully ‘joint trusteeship’ plans.

“Joint Trusteeship means changes to our pension plan have to be negotiated between our employers and us,” explained CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts. “In the past, when the government wanted to change our plan, usually for the worst, they could do it with the stroke of a pen. No more.”

The Notley government actions are based on best practices for pension plans. Other provinces in Canada have accepted joint trusteeship of their plans because they know that when employees have more control over their plans, everyone benefits.

“We know that CUPE and other unions have a lot of knowledge about how to run pension plans and keep them healthy,” said Roberts. “Jointly trusteed pension plans are almost always better off financially.”

Roberts said Conservative governments have been promising this change since as far back as 1992, but have only delivered broken promises.  “Bill 27 is a recognition of best practices adopted by other Provinces and an end to years of broken promises.”

All Presidents Meeting -Young Workers Forum & Political Action Workshop – February 1-2, 2019

CUPE Alberta is inviting all Local Presidents and in addition; one Local Executive Officer and one Young Worker to attend to our Annual All President’s meeting on February 1, 2019. There will also be a Young Worker’s Forum and Political Action workshops on February 2nd.

That’s right, up to three members per Local may attend, one of which must be a Young Worker.  We look forward to seeing you in Calgary on February 1 and 2, 2019!

(Registration fee will be waived for the Young Worker to attend the All President meeting. Event details will be forthcoming.)

 

Better Alberta

Accomplishments of the Notley government.

  • Made long overdue changes to health and safety rules to ensure workplace safety committees and a range of other improvements.
  • $100 million to improve drinking water in First Nations communities.
  • Introduced a dental fee guide to lower the cost of dental services.
  • Invested money into Fresh Start recovery homes, creating 46 new addiction recovery spaces in Calgary.
  • Brought back the STEP program to create jobs for students.

The NDP works for all Albertans.

CUPE Alberta

CUPE Welcomes Pension Changes

EDMONTON – The announcement yesterday that Alberta public sector pension plans will be jointly managed between workers and government is great news for the health of these plans, CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts said today.

Premier Rachel Notley announced yesterday that the Alberta government will introduce legislation in the fall to make public pension plans jointly trusteed, meaning they will be governed by a board of employee and employer representatives. Changes to the pension plan will have to be negotiated and agreed to by both sides.

Roberts said the changes mean workers will have a say over how their pensions are managed.

“In 2013, the Conservative government of the day tried to cut pension benefits to thousands of Albertans who had spent lifetimes paying into them,” said Roberts. “With this announcement, it will be much harder for any government to do that again. This is great news.”

Roberts said Alberta is one of the only provinces without jointly trusteed plans.

“Other provinces made this move long ago, and it resulted in healthier pension plans,” said Roberts. “Employees have skin in the game, so it makes sense to let us be a part of how the plans are managed. It’s in our interests for the plans to be healthy.”

Invest in the Future

Accomplishments of the Notley government.

  • Created new funding for school playgrounds so parents don’t need to fund raise to have them at their local school.
  • Invested over $40 million for solar programs in homes, businesses, First Nations, municipalities and farms.
  • Building a new emergency room for the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton.
  • Approved $1.7M for maintenance of homeless facilities in Edmonton.
  • Approved $750K to improve health outcomes for Calgary homeless.

 

The NDP works for all Albertans.

CUPE Alberta

 

Protect your future

Notley government accomplishments

  • Tightened rules around gay straight alliances in schools so kids can join without being outed.
  • Building a new neonatal care unit in St. Albert.
  • Cancelled the privatization of hospital lab services in Edmonton. Brought that service in-house under Alberta Health Services.
  • Started Alberta’s first housing strategy, building 4,000 units of affordable housing.
  • Promoting and fighting for the Trans Mountain pipeline and Alberta’s energy industry.

The NDP works for all Albertans .
CUPE Alberta

Celebrating Labour Day in solidarity with Alberta workers

Labour Day is more than just the last long weekend of summer before the kids head back to school. It is an important day of the year to reflect and celebrate the gains and achievements made on behalf of our workers.

In Alberta, CUPE members have diligently stood together to improve conditions for working Albertans. Today we have higher wages and better benefits, as well as vastly safer and healthier work places. It is every worker’s right to a safe and healthy workplace.

This hasn’t always been the case. These have been hard-fought gains made over years of battle.

But when CUPE raises its collective voice to stand up for workers’ rights and a better life for everyone, it resonates in workplaces and communities across Alberta and Canada. We are the country’s largest labour union, and we are committed to our fight for a fairer and more equal world.

Around the world, a wave of right-wing governments threaten to legislate away the rights of workers, privatize public services and fundamentally redefine how governments serve their people. That threat can be found right here in Alberta in Jason Kenney and his United Conservative Party of Alberta. A provincial election will be held by next spring and CUPE Alberta will do everything it can to re-elect the NDP, whose labour-friendly policies improve conditions for Alberta workers and support a more equal and inclusive society.

Thank you to all CUPE activists, leaders, and staff across Alberta, who fight tirelessly to make our jobs and our communities better. You show up and make a difference.

On behalf of CUPE Alberta, we wish you a very safe and happy Labour Day.

In Solidarity,

Marle Roberts
President, CUPE Alberta

 

Labour Day celebrations are happening across Alberta on Monday, September 3rd. Here is a list of some of those events:

Edmonton:

  • Edmonton District Labour Council barbecue, live entertainment and family activities. 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Giovanni Caboto Park, 95 Street and 109 Ave,

Lethbridge

  • Lethbridge District Labour Council barbecue, bouncy castles, face painting and live entertainment, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Kinsmen Park, 1009 – 9th Avenue South.

Medicine Hat

  • Medicine Hat Labour Council barbecue, 11 m. to 1 p.m., Riverside Park, across the street from CityHall (1st Street SE)

Red Deer

  • Red Deer District Labour Council barbecue, live entertainment, Rosie the Clown, crafts and Sidewalk chalk; 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 51 Street between 49 Avenue and 50 Avenue

Calgary

  • Calgary District Labour Council barbecue, live music, free food, family event, book give-away. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Olympic Plaza, 228 8 Ave SE

Fort McMurray

  • Wood Buffalo District Labour Council barbecue and rubber duck race. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Snye Point Park, Fort McMurray

 

Protect labour reforms at the bargaining table

Alejandro Pachon | CUPE Research

Over the last year, the Alberta New Democrat government has introduced numerous reforms to the province’s labour legislation.

The reforms have included changes to the Labour Relations Code; the Employment Standards Code; the Occupational Health and Safety Act; and the Workers Compensation Act. The government has overhauled and modernized the legal framework for labour relations in Alberta, after decades of neglect by previous conservative governments.

Many of these changes directly affect the rights and benefits of workers under provincial jurisdiction. For instance, the Fair and Family-Friendly Workplaces Act (June 7, 2017) made 37 changes and 16 additions to the Employment Standards Code. These include an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour, improvements to leave eligibility, parental leave and compassionate care leave, as well as new entitlements to leaves for bereavement, domestic violence, critical illness of a child, and long-term illness and injury.

The same act also made 13 changes and 10 additions to the Labour Relations Code, including classifying all continuing care facilities and healthcare laboratories as essential services requiring essential service agreements to ensure continuous operations during potential strikes.

It’s an impressive list of positive changes, and CUPE locals need to integrate these improvements into their collective agreement. The rapid pace of legislative reform means CUPE locals may find themselves with a lengthy list of items to negotiate at the bargaining table.

To the extent possible, locals should try to include all the new standards as part of their collective agreements, with specific language for each of the improvements obtained through legislation.

Backing up legislation with bargaining improvements also helps defend gains if the government changes. In Alberta, members of the United Conservative Party (UCP) have declared their intention to roll back these gains and even push for “right-to-work” legislation. If the improved standards were to be rolled back, clear and specific language in our collective agreements would protect CUPE members from losing newly acquired entitlements and leaves.

Employers, however, may resist the introduction of this language if they believe that a future Conservative government would remove many of the new employer obligations. If a collective agreement does not contain specific language for domestic violence leave, for example, a change in legislation would leave the employer off the hook and would constitute a loss for the workers.

Even in the face of employer resistance, CUPE locals should make every effort to negotiate new standards into their collective agreements in any jurisdiction where gains are realized.

Find out more about how you can bargain new standards into your contracts. Connect with your CUPE staff representatives to create a plan.