Important Notice: Renewing Your Provincial Driver’s Licence

CUPEGeneral updates

As of April 1, 2016 the Province of Alberta will no longer be mailing out reminders to your home
to renew your provincial driver’s licence.

Employees operating City fleet vehicles or equipment are required to have a valid provincial
driver’s licence, as well as a City Operator’s permit.

It is the responsibility of the City of Calgary employees to ensure that you renew your
provincial driver’s licence prior to your birthday expiration date.

Please click the link below to sign up for your free renewal notification via email or text
message.

Secondary School Scholarship

CUPEGeneral updates

CUPE Local 37 will award two scholarships per year of $1000 each to children of CUPE Local 37, Active Members in Good Standing.

The recipient of the scholarship must be prepared to show that they have been accepted as a full-time student to an approved institution of higher education such as a university, technological institute, college, etc.  People who are currently attending post-secondary studies are eligible for this award.

Applications must be submitted no later than August 31.

President’s message

CUPEPresident's messages

Cyril WilsonHello brothers and sisters,

I hope all your holidays went well and they were of the joyous variety. I would like to thank all of you who worked during the holidays to make this City the great one it is. Without your boots on the ground the City would be sorely lacking.

Down here at the hall we have been working with all the various work units to get major issues solved, some easier than others. Feel free to call down to the hall if you have any issues that need to be resolved. I am here to help you with any of your concerns.

This upcoming March it is election time for the local; good luck to all the candidates.

In solidarity,

Cyril Wilson - signature

CUPE HIV and AIDS Booklet

CUPEHealth and safety

aids_booklet_cover_e_revisedCUPE has produced a new booklet on HIV and AIDS to help locals build awareness, promote discussion, and foster action on these critical issues.

HIV and AIDS are not only health issues; they are also human rights and social justice concerns, economic challenges, and labour issues. As a union, we are proud to stand in solidarity with those infected and affected by the disease, and with organizations and workers who support people living with HIV and AIDS. CUPE stands for strong, healthy communities and workplaces for everyone.

CUPE adopted an updated policy on HIV and AIDS in 2012, and this policy forms the core of the new booklet. Information is also provided on statistics, a basic analysis of the context of HIV today, and practical ideas on how we can begin to make a difference.

Public Mobilization Sends Conservatives Back to Drawing Board on Pensions

CUPELAPP

Government Hearings Provide Opportunity for Discussion of Real Retirement Security

Contentious legislation that could ruin the retirement security of hundreds of thousands of Albertans is off the table… for now.

Bills 9 and 10 — which respectively target public-sector and private-sector defined-benefit plans — will not be passed by the legislature during its current sitting, but will instead be referred to the Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future, and will be subject to public hearings. The Bills are expected to return to the legislature for the fall sitting.

“It’s clear that Albertans are making themselves heard. They’ve stood up for their pensions. They’ve let their MLAs know that these Bills are unacceptable,” Alberta Federation of Labour President Gil McGowan said. “Together, the hundreds of thousands of people who depend on these plans have made the government pause. Now we have to keep working together to stop the attack on defined-benefit plans.”

The Bills, if passed, would have undermined the retirement security of hundreds of thousands of Albertans by allowing the conversion of modest, stable defined-benefit pensions to less stable ones. What’s more, the Bills would have allowed employers to target benefits already earned.

Since pension legislation was added to the government’s agenda in September, thousands of Albertans have educated themselves on the issues, have visited their MLAs, have participated in rallies at workplaces, have written letters to Premiers Redford and Hancock, have signed petitions, and have protested at the legislature. Alberta’s workers and retirees have found allies like Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and
Counties.

“This is democracy in action,” McGowan said. “We’re pleased that the government has acknowledged the need for more consultation and for a more careful review of the evidence and options.”

During the hearings, the Alberta Federation of Labour will urge the government to help the more than 70 per cent of Albertans who have no workplace pension plan and who are facing an insecure retirement. A good place to start would be for the Premier to support the reasonable expansion of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) that is supported by almost every other Canadian province.

“The Alberta Federation of Labour and its affiliated member unions look forward to participating in the committee hearings,” McGowan said. “We look forward to reminding policymakers of the important role that defined-benefit pension plans play in ensuring retirement security for Albertans.”

Fast Facts on Alberta Pensions

CUPELAPP

On September 16, 2013, Finance Minister Doug Horner, laid out a “new vision” for Alberta public-sector
pension plans. He said he plans to start implementing his changes with new legislation, slated to be introduced
during the spring 2014 session of the Legislature.

  • Under the Minister’s plan, all early-retirement provisions will be eliminated from public-sector pension plans.
    Guaranteed cost-of-living adjustments will also be cancelled and replaced by smaller adjustments that will not
    be applied every year.
  • The Minister’s proposed changes will slash the value of pensions earned by Alberta public-sector workers by 25
    per cent or more on benefits earned after January 1, 2016.
  • To put it another way, as a result of the changes proposed by government, the 200,000 Albertans covered by
    provincial public-sector pension plans will have to work longer and pay more for benefits that are smaller and
    less secure
  • The government also plans to impose a cap on contributions that can be made to public-sector pension plans.
    Pension experts worry that this move will tie the hands of pension plan managers when they’re confronted
    with periods of low investment returns. Instead of having the option of increasing contributions for short
    periods, they will have no choice but to cut benefits — perhaps even benefits for people who have already
    retired and are collecting pensions.
  • The Minister justifies his changes by pointing to the $7.5 billion unfunded liability that was on the books of
    Alberta’s pension plans last year. He says changes are also necessary because the Canadian workforce is aging
    and people are living longer.
  • What the Minister doesn’t mention is that half of the unfunded liability is actually shouldered by employees,
    not government. He also doesn’t mention that there is already a plan in place to return the pension plans back
    to fully funded status. This plan involves all employees making monthly contributions from their own
    paycheques specifically targeted to reducing the unfunded liability. The plan is working.
  • The Minister also doesn’t mention that Alberta has the youngest workforce in the country. Or that Alberta’s
    pension plans, like pension plans across the country, are quickly climbing out of the hole created by the global
    recession of 2008.
  • Both of Alberta’s largest pension plans — the Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP) and the Public Service
    Pension Plan (PSPP) — enjoyed very healthy investment returns of about 11 per cent in 2012. Investment
    returns for 2013 are likely to have been even higher.
  • According to a study by the independent actuarial firm George & Bell, both the LAPP and the PSPP will return to
    fully funded status in nine years.
  • Total costs of the plans are also expected to drop. Costs for the LAPP will drop the equivalent of 20 percent of
    payroll (split between employees and employers) and costs for PSPP will drop to 16 percent of payroll (also spilt
    between employees and employers). This is significantly lower than the target of 25 per cent of payroll
    identified by the government itself.
  • As currently constituted, Alberta’s public-sector pension plans are decent, but they are by no means “gold
    plated.” The average LAPP pensioner receives about $14,500 a year in pension benefits – after years and years
    of deductions from their own paycheques. The average PSPP pensioner receives about $13,000 a year.
    Public-sector workers pay for their own pensions. Deductions taken from workers bi-weekly paycheques cover
    half the costs of the pension plans, contributions from employers cover the other half. Economists recognize
    that, for the most part, employers cover their costs by simply reducing wages paid to workers. In this way,
    pension benefits are appropriately viewed as deferred wages (earned by employees during their working years,
    but taken after they retire).
  • The benefits that the Minister wants to eliminate from Alberta’s pension plans (early retirement benefits and
    cost-of-living protection) are also planned for and paid for out of contributions from employees and employees.
    The George & Bell study shows that plans like the LAPP and PSPP are sustainable over the long term even if
    these benefits are maintained.
  • One of the biggest frustrations felt by plan members and the unions that represent them is that the
    government seems determined to make changes without negotiating with the people who actually pay for the
    pension plans (workers and employers like municipalities, universities, colleges, school boards and health
    authorities).
  • Alberta’s public-sector unions are not opposed to change — they just think change should be negotiated, not
    imposed. With that in mind, they have proposed a series of changes that could strengthen the plans, without
    undermining benefits for retirees. The union proposals were presented to government in hopes that they
    would enter into good-faith negotiation on the future of the plan — as opposed to unilaterally imposing
    detrimental changes without meaningful consultation.