Pension Information Meetings

Calgary Pension Information Meetings

Wednesday November 20, 2013 → 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Red and White Club → 1833 Crowchild Trail NW, Calgary

Thursday November 21, 2013 → 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Red and White Club → 1833 Crowchild Trail NW, Calgary

HOW IS MY PENSION BEING ATTACKED?

Contribution rates & benefit reductions
Current contribution rates for the pension plans are high. But current contribution rates address the pensions’ unfunded liabilities. Higher rates were set to catch up the plans after the global stock market crashes in 2000 and 2008, and ensure you receive the full benefit you were promised. These rates are set to begin decreasing in 2018.

Alison Redford and her government plan to cap contribution rates near present values. If there is another market crash, benefit reductions are the only way they can address a shortfall. The government hasn’t explained this part of their plan, but it means significant cuts to everyone in the plan, possibly including current pensioners, and major cuts to any benefits earned after 2015.

Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA)

Currently, plan benefits automatically increase benefits to cover 60% of the growth in the cost of living. The Redford government’s plan will only cover 50% of the growth in the cost of living, and only if the plan finances are deemed sufficient. That means COLA can be suspended entirely if financial targets aren’t met. And nobody knows what those financial targets will be. The cost to your pension can add up quickly: if the cost of living rises by 2.5% annually, five years of suspended COLA would reduce your benefit by 13%.
The end of the “85 factor”
Your pension plan currently allows you to retire with a full benefit upon accumulating at combined total of 85 years of experience and years working. The changes planned by Alison Redford and her government would end this benefit and subject an individual with 25 years work behind them, who is retiring at age 60, to significant penalties to their benefits for service after 2015. Worse yet, their plan will increase those early retirement penalties.

Increased penalties for early retirement

Currently you can retire with your full, accumulated benefit at age 60 if you have worked and paid into the plan for 25 years. Without 25 years in the plan, you pay a penalty of 3% for each year retirement before age 65. Those penalties will increase dramatically for any benefits earned after 2015 due to the changes the Redford government has planned. On separate occasions the government has said the penalties will increase to 4.5% or 6% per year.

What is AUPE doing?

AUPE is mounting legal challenges against this attack on your pension, but it would be foolish for you or your union to count on this approach succeeding. A union’s greatest strength is always members who are willing to take action. We are strongest when we work together.

Our best hope to stop this attack on pensions is if members like you all speak up. If we can convince the government there will be political consequences in the next election, or that a significant members could leave their jobs if the changes go through, we can win this fight.

Sending a letter to your MLA from the AUPE homepage is the first step. Workplace action is the next. Count on seeing more activity in your workplace in the coming months. If you want to help, sign up as a workplace contact by visiting www.aupe.org/update-me/.


 

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