At a special meeting of the Consultative Committee on Staff Benefits (CCSB) on Monday October 22nd, the Guild reached an agreement with the CBC on increases to the employee portion of pension plan premiums. This past summer, the CBC unilaterally imposed a 3% increase to the employee share of contribution costs. The Guild challenged the CBC’s right to do so without consultation. This agreement sets caps for the increases thereby limiting how much members pay out of their pockets while committing the CBC to consulting with the signatory Unions on any possible future changes to pension plan premiums. The agreement was reached without having to resort to lengthy and costly grievance arbitration.
The financial challenges the CBC has been dealing with this year have been significant. Following the cuts imposed on the CBC as well as the push by the federal government to have all public service pension plans move to a 50/50 employee employer sharing of the premium, the CBC unilaterally increased the employee portion of the pension plan premium from 34% to 37% of annual contribution costs. A further increase to 40% of costs is planned for next year. This deal ensures that for the life of the agreement, participating members will not see their pension premiums surpass 40%. If economic pressures continue to mount, the signatories have agreed that the parties would enter a new round of talks to discuss how best to deal with these new issues.
The Guild and all other CBC/SRC unions have signed on to this agreement except for the SCRC, the Quebec based SRC journalists union, who are also not signatories to the 2009 pension surplus sharing agreement. As a reminder, that agreement ensures that all members of the signatory Unions will enjoy a share of any future pension plan surpluses. Furthermore, major fluctuations in our benefits costs would be covered by a joint union fund both created by and managed by signatory Unions. To date, the pension plan is performing well even in these hard times.
Help us improve pension buybacks for ACTRA or SARDEC service
This year, the CBC made some long-needed improvements in pension buyback provisions for part-time and some contract service, but there still are some areas that the Guild would like to see improved, including pre-1980 ACTRA or SARDEC contract service. At the moment, pre-1980 ACTRA and SARDEC service isn’t available for buyback and we want to change that.
The records are a bit murky, depending on where people worked and how well ACTRA and SARDEC term-employee contracts were maintained, so the Guild and CBC need your help to build a case for amending the CBC Pension Plan (again) to extend the buyback provisions.
If you have ACTRA and/or SARDEC service that you have not been able to buy back, let us know as soon as possible. Tell us what kind of documentation you still have. This doesn’t apply to contracts that were freelance in nature or where the ACTRA or SARDEC member may have incorporated to sign a contract with the CBC. Service under those independent contractor arrangements won’t be eligible to buy back.
There’s no guarantee that the plan will be amended, but the better our information is, the better we can make the case. Let the Guild know by contacting the Guild at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your CCSB representatives:
Marc-Philippe Laurin (Branch President)
Dan Oldfield, Sr. Staff Representative
Gabriel Durocher, Staff Representative
Glenn Gray, Staff Representative