At the latest meeting of the Consultative Committee on Staff Benefits, the CBC informed all the unions that it was refusing to amend the pension plan to give all employees equal access to pension buybacks. Under the current rules, non-permanent and part-time employees have a two-year waiting period before they can join or be “vested” in the pension plan. Contract and temporary employees don’t have the ability to buy back those first two years of service. Part-time members can’t buy back any past service.
The CCSB has been asking the corporation to amend the plan to treat all members equitably. Under the powers of the CCSB, we directed the Corporation to make the buy-back amendment.
However, the CBC has now refused to make the needed amendments. The Corporation claims it found that about 3,500 of the 8,000 people currently in the pension plan might be able to buy back past contract or temporary service. The Corporation maintains that the changes could add $16 million to the solvency costs of the plan, as well as substantial administrative expenses. The corporation also claims it would be too costly or complicated to calculate part-time employee buy-backs.
We think the Corporation has grossly overestimated the potential cost of amending the plan. It has come up with a worst-case scenario instead of looking for a reasonable way to give all members of the plan equitable treatment. We’ve demanded a written explanation of the Corporation’s decision so that we can use the grievance/arbitration process to correct this wrong.
It wasn’t all bad news at the latest CCSB. The financial health of our long-term disability plan continues to improve, and we’re seeing a settling in the number of open claims. Still, with just over 300 members on LTD, the figures can be rather volatile from month to month, so we want to see if there’s any firm trend before entertaining any changes in benefits or premiums.
Your representatives at the December CCSB: