c/o 10802 - 172 Street, Edmonton, AB T5S 2T3
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A coalition of Alberta unions says recent changes in the rules governing activities of the board of the Alberta Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP) put at risk pension rights of 125,000 Albertans - including rights to early retirement, cost of living allowances and workers' ability to retire when their age and years of service add up to 85.
The Labour Coalition on Pensions has purchased full-page advertisements in Alberta daily newspapers today calling on members and pensioners to telephone their MLAs and Premier Ed Stelmach to overturn the changes. The coalition has registered a website - www.savemypension.ca - where detailed information on the situation is available.
The Coalition also commenced legal action to overturn the changes in governance rules for the LAPP Board on December 19, 2007.
"While our legal action continues, we believe this is fundamentally a political problem that can be solved quickly by the Premier and cabinet," the Coalition said today in a statement.
At issue is a new employer-dominated system of governance brought in despite union opposition at a November 15, 2007 meeting of the LAPP Board.
The coalition says the new rules break a long-standing agreement which required union approval for all significant changes to the policies or governance of the Plan - opening the door for decisions which are against the interests of working people.
The old rules, established when employers and unions bailed out the plan's unfunded liability in the early 1990's, required a two-thirds majority and a quorum of eight members of the board, which had to include four employer representatives and four employee representatives. Now only a simple majority is required and there need not be a single labour representatives present.
The new rules were passed surreptitiously using the requirements of the new rules rather than those of the existing rules.
"We urge all public service pension plan members and retirees to contact the government and demand that this decision be reversed," the Coalition members said. "Existing early retirement provisions, COLA provisions and the '85 factor' are all at risk because of this change," the unions said.
The coalition is made up of the Alberta Federation of Labour, the Alberta Colleges and Institutes Faculty Association, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, the Amalgamated Transit Union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Health Sciences Association of Alberta and United Nurses of Alberta. It represents approximately 125,000 members of the $15-billion LAPP.
For more information, contact:
Elisabeth Ballermann, President, Health Sciences Association of Alberta, 780-488-0168
Doug Knight, President, AUPE, 780-930-3301 or 780-265-6655 (cellular phone)
D'Arcy Lanovaz, President, CUPE Alberta Division, 403-861-5235
Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour, 780-483-3021
Heather Smith, President, United Nurses of Alberta, 780-425-0125