On November 27, 2013 the Union was notified by Canada Post management that they are once again implementing a unilateral increase in pension contributions for employees. According to the notice the employee contribution rate will increase another 0.6 per cent of pensionable earnings. This is in addition to the 0.7 per cent increase that was unilaterally implemented by CPC effective July 1, 2013.
The time has come to ensure workers have more financial security when they retire. An expanded Canada Pension Plan/Quebec Pension Plan (CPP/QPP) would do just that. Small increases in contributions would effectively double CPP/QPP benefits upon retirement.
The federal government has reached an agreement with the European Union (EU) on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). A leaked document indicates that CETA only partially protects postal services. Reports to date indicate that the agreement may also: • Unfairly restrict how local governments spend money and ban “buy local” policies. • Add up to $3 billion to the price of drugs. • Increase Canada’s trade deficit with Europe, leading to significant job losses. • Undermine protections for health care and culture. • Create pressure to increase privatization of local water systems, transit and energy. • Allow European corporations to challenge our laws, policies and programs through investor-state provisions, including environmental and health measures.
Canada Post management has informed the Union that it is “prepared to meet and review all possible scenarios to resolve the matters related to the financial health of the pension plan.” As you may recall, in my bulletin dated September 19, 2013, I mentioned that in early September, we met with Canada Post and we proposed to put in place a Working Committee to address the realities of the pension plan. We made this proposal because we believe that it is essential that postal workers are entitled to a secure pension during our retirement.
In recent months, there have been a lot of media reports and discussions about the future of Canada Post. The debates started again last April, with the publication of a Conference Board of Canada report on the future of Canada Post. The Corporation took advantage of the situation by launching an on-line public consultative process and having “private” talks with various stakeholders. Several right-wing groups, such as the Fraser Institute and the C.D. Howe Institute, made sure to comment, each time attacking the public postal service and the rights of postal workers. And each and every time, we responded with our own solution, i.e. the expansion of services, including financial and banking services.
When will I be receiving my copy of the collective agreement? Many have asked this question, and rightly so. This question is raised after every round of negotiations, but this time even more acutely. I am pleased to report that the proofreading, revision and layout process has finally been completed. You should receive your copy by mid-November.
Many locals and members have been asking when the contract books for the new RSMC collective agreements will be coming. We have now received advance copies of the new RSMC contract books at National Office. They should be available to members in the locals in approximately 2 weeks.
Media reports indicate that the federal government has agreed to give Europeans more market access to our postal services as a result of negotiations over the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The term "market access" is used in trade agreements to refer to conditions relating to market entry, such as tariffs or customs regulations and procedures. However, it traditionally means providing greater entrance to a market. As you may recall, the government increased access to our postal market in 2010 when it deregulated international letters. It is possible that the government has locked in its deregulation of outbound international mail through CETA, which would prevent a future government from being able to reverse this move. CUPW has written to Steve Verheul, Canada's Chief negotiator for CETA, asking for more information. We are also attempting to arrange a meeting with Verheul.
Currently employees pay contributions that equal 40% of the cost of the Canada Post Pension Plan and the employer’s contributions amount to 60% of the cost. This 40-60 ratio was established in law when the Canada Post Pension Plan was created and Canada Post employees ceased to be part of the Federal Superannuation Plan. On May 29, 2013 Canada Post Corporation sent a letter to all employees stating that, effective July 1, 2013, the employee contribution rate for the Canada Post Pension Plan will rise by 0.7 per cent of pensionable earnings. It stated that further increases would occur in 2014 until the rate of contributions for employees would be 50%, the same as that for the Corporation.
With the demands ratified by the membership, negotiations began with Adecco on Tuesday February 26, 2013. Members of your Negotiating Committee are as follows: Alex Bousquet (Montreal) Ken Hum (Vancouver) Chris Kush (Toronto) Carl Girouard (National Office) Philippe Arbour (National Office) Cathy Kennedy (National Office) At our meeting, the Union presented its demands and discussed how the parties will proceed. The employer will provide us with any demands that they may have in about a week.
Support Postal Banking - Download and Sign the Petition
Canada needs a postal bank. Thousands of rural towns and villages in our country do not have a bank, but many of them have a post office that could provide financial services. As well, nearly two million Canadians desperately need an alternative to payday lenders. A postal bank could be that alternative. Download and sign the petition urging the Government of Canada to instruct Canada Post to add postal banking, with a mandate for financial inclusion.