Online calculator at TruthAboutAlbertaPensions.ca
shows impact of destructive pension proposals
Edmonton – Public-sector workers all over Alberta are learning how much the Redford government's pension proposals could cost them.
In one week since the Alberta Labour Coalition on Pensions launched a web-based pension calculator, 3,375 members of the Local Authorities Pension Plan and the Public Sector Pension Plan have found out how much they stand to lose if early retirement provisions are eliminated and Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) are reduced or suspended as the Redford Government has proposed. The calculator, which was created with the help of actuarial firm Brendan & George, can be found at www.TruthAboutAlbertaPensions.ca
"This pension calculator takes a complicated policy debate and makes the changes tangible and personal to the people who will be affected by the changes," Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said. "These workers have earned their pensions, they've paid for their pensions, and now the government is cutting these pensions with no justification."
As an example, the calculator shows that someone born in 1980 who retires with 30 years of service at the age of 65 with a salary of $65,000 will see her retirement income reduced by as much as $794 per month in inflation-adjusted dollars by the time she's 75. Someone born a decade earlier, in 1970, who retired with only 20 years service with the same salary of $65,000, might see his pension cheques reduced by $364 each month.
"If you know anyone who is retired, and on a fixed income, you know that losing $364 a month would cause problems. Losses of $700, $800 or more each month could be disastrous," McGowan said. "For most Alberta voters, there's a difference between hearing that their pension will fall behind inflation. It's another thing to know that it will mean a specific number of dollars fewer in their pocket every month after their retirement. It's information that they need to know when they follow this debate."
In the fall, the government announced major changes would be made to Alberta's four public-sector pension plans, including the two biggest, the Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP) and the Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP). Taken together, these proposed changes would slash the value of pensions earned by Alberta public-sector workers by 25 per cent or more on benefits earned after January 1, 2016.
The Pension Calculator was commissioned by a coalition of unions and associations that have members in LAPP and PSPP. The coalition includes: the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL), the Alberta Fire Fighters Association (AFFA), the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA), the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) and a number of smaller unions.
Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.218.9888 (cell)
Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.289.6528 (cell) or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
MEDIA ADVISORY-Leaders of largest public sector unions to unveil actuarial report showing pension plans in good shape
Redford government's proposed cuts to public-sector pensions are "unjustified, unfair and reckless"
Leaders of largest public-sector unions unveil actuarial report showing pension plans in good shape
EDMONTON – A new study prepared by an independent, professional actuary shows that Alberta's largest public-sector pension plans are healthy and well on the way to returning to fully-funded status – even without any changes to benefits will be released today.
What:Union Leaders Release report showing pension plans are healthy
When: 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 14
Where: UNA Offices (700 – 11150 Jasper Ave., Edmonton)
Who: AFL president Gil McGowan
AUPE president Guy Smith
HSAA president Elisabeth Ballermann
UNA president Heather Smith
CUPE Alberta president Marle Roberts
Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.289.6528 (cell)or via e-mail email@example.com
New actuarial study demonstrates that Alberta pension plans are healthy and getting healthier – even without benefit changes
EDMONTON – A new study prepared by an independent, professional actuary shows that Alberta's largest public-sector pension plans are healthy and well on the way to returning to fully funded status – even without any changes to benefits.
The results of the study fly in the face of arguments used by the Redford government to justify its plan to roll back pensions covering almost 300,000 public-sector workers and pensioners in Alberta.
In the fall, provincial Finance Minister Doug Horner announced that major changes would be made to Alberta's four public-sector pension plans, including the two biggest, the Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP) and the Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP).
In particular, Horner said he would bring in legislation in the spring of 2014 that will allow him to eliminate guaranteed cost-of-living adjustments and all early retirement incentives for workers covered by plans like the LAPP and PSPP.
Taken together, Horner's proposed changes would slash the value of pensions earned by Alberta public-sector workers by 25 per cent or more on benefits earned after January 1, 2016.
Horner has said the changes are necessary to ensure the sustainability of Alberta's pension plans. However, the report from actuaries at Vancouver-based George & Bell Consulting shows that both the LAPP and PSPP are sustainable and healthy over the long-term without any changes.
The George & Bell study concludes that, under the most likely economic scenario and with no major changes to benefits, both the LAPP and PSPP will return to fully funded status within nine years.
The total costs of the plans are also expected to drop. Costs for the LAPP will drop to the equivalent of 20 percent of payroll (split between employers and employees) and costs for the PSPP will drop to 16 percent (also split between employers and employees).
Even under the most pessimistic scenarios, the study shows that both the LAPP and PSPP will dramatically improve their funding status and keep costs under control – without having to resort to any of the deep cuts proposed by the Redford government.
The George & Bell study was commissioned by a coalition of unions and associations that have members in LAPP and PSPP. The coalition includes: the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL), the Alberta Fire Fighters Association (AFFA), the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA), the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) and a number of smaller unions.
The study was recently submitted to the Minister Horner in support of a brief from the Coalition opposing the government's plan to make major changes to pension plans like the LAPP.
Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.289.6528 (cell) or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Link: Backgrounder - Fast Facts on Pensions
Commentary from Union Leaders
"These pension plans are the cornerstone of retirement security for hundreds of thousands of Albertans. If the government is going to unilaterally undermine that security, then they had better have a damn good reason. What this study shows is that they government hasn't managed to get its facts straight. They've failed to make the case for the big rollbacks they're proposing." - Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour
"Despite all heated rhetoric that the government has been using to justify their slash-and-burn plan for pensions, the reality is that there is no crisis. Our pension plans are healthy. In fact, they're on track to getting even healthier without making any major changes." - Guy Smith, President, Alberta Union of Provincial Employees
"The government's plan for pension cuts is unjustified, unfair and reckless. In the name of sustainability, they're actually going to make the plans less sustainable by tying the hands of the people who manage the plans and undermining the confidence of the workers and employers who participate in the plans." - Heather Smith, President, United Nurses of Alberta
"There's an old saying that if something isn't broken, you shouldn't try to fix it. This is a perfect time for Albertans to be reminded of that saying." - Elisabeth Ballermann, President, Health Sciences Association of Alberta
"Where's the government's evidence? We've commissioned an independent actuarial study showing that Alberta pension plans are healthy and getting healthier, even without cuts or changes. Why hasn't the government released its own actuarial study? Could it be that their actuary came to the same conclusion as the actuaries at George & Bell?" - Marle Roberts, President, Canadian Union of Public Employees (Alberta Division)
October 2013: Parkland Institute Annual Conference; Superstore Workers Win Vastly Improved Offer After Three-Day Strike; Help Defend Alberta Pensions; AFL Makes Final Argument in Favour o...
Parkland Institute Annual Conference
The Parkland Institute is putting Facts, Fictions, and the Politics of Truth under the microscope at their 17th Annual Conference, Nov. 22-24 at the University of Alberta.
The conference will examine how governments have been increasingly limiting the ability of scientists to speak about their research, and how important research has been defunded.
Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges will be presenting a keynote speech on his latest book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt. Other speakers will include Arno Kepecky, Katie Gibbs, and internationally syndicated columnist Michael Geist.
For more information, please visit the convention page at http://parklandinstitute.ca/fallconf2013
Superstore Workers Win Vastly Improved Offer After Three-Day Strike
UFCW 401 celebrated a victory in the fight for fair wages after signing a new contract with Loblaws.
More than 8,500 workers returned to work after a three-day strike was resolved with a new collective agreement.
“The new contract is one that the employees can be proud of, and now includes none of the most troubling concessions that were there when they went on strike,” UFCW president Douglas O’Halloran said.
The improvements in the newly ratified deal include wage increases in every year of the Collective Agreement, along with retroactive pay, as well as money for a brand new sick pay plan for part-time workers and significant improvements to the full-time benefits.
“We’re proud of our brothers and sisters at UFCW who stood up to unreasonable employer demands, and won a major victory,” Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said. “Many AFL members from a broad cross section of the labour movement are glad to have stood in solidarity with UFCW. The number of our members – and the number of Albertans – who refused to cross the picket line was inspiring.”
Help Defend Alberta Pensions
On Sept. 16, most Alberta public sector unions received word from the Redford Government that it intends to implement major change to public sector pension plans, including the Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP), which includes many of our members.
For now, affected unions are working together to change the government’s mind. The coalition includes the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, Alberta Colleges and Institutes Faculties Association, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Health Sciences Association of Alberta, United Nurses of Alberta and the Alberta Federation of Labour.
Hardworking Alberta workers deserve a decent, predictable and secure retirement income after years of working and contributing to their pension plan. This real retirement security is best and most efficiently provided by a jointly governed defined benefit pension plan. For public-sector workers, the Local Authorities Pension Plan has worked for 50 years and it can continue working into the future without drastic changes so long as workers and employers are given the ability to manage the plan.
The Alberta Federation of Labour urges you to let the government know that you oppose the undermining of Alberta’s public-sector pension plans. Visit the website www.defendalbertapensions.ca to send a letter to Finance Minister Doug Horner.
AFL Makes Final Argument in Favour of Enbridge Line 9 Pipeline
The Alberta Federation of Labour president submitted final arguments to the National Energy Board in favour of the Enbridge Line 9 Project today.
AFL president Gil McGowan said he supports Line 9 because it keeps value-added jobs in Canada, and is good for the people of Alberta and the people of Quebec. Line 9 will expand and reverse the flow of Line 9 and 9B, connecting the Synthetic Crude Oil coming from Alberta's upgraders to refineries in Quebec.
"Line 9 connects Alberta's upgraders, and all the good-paying jobs that go with them, to refineries in Quebec, where thousands of good jobs are also at stake. It provides a market for synthetic crude, and keeps value-added jobs in both our provinces," McGowan said. "Line 9 allows Quebec refineries to stop importing higher-cost crude from Angola, Nigeria, and Algeria, and instead allows them to buy Alberta's upgraded products, which enhances Canadian energy security."
The AFL is a frequent intervener in National Energy Board pipeline proceedings. The Federation has intervened against Keystone, Keystone XL, Southern Lights, Alberta Clipper, and Northern Gateway, on the grounds that these pipelines ship raw bitumen, and therefore value-added jobs, down the pipeline to the United States or China. This is the first time the Federation has intervened in favour of a pipeline project at the National Energy Board.
Download the AFL press release issued Oct 3:“AFL Makes Final Argument in Favour of Enbridge Line 9 Pipeline”: http://www.afl.org/index.php/Press-Release/afl-makes-final-argument-in-favour-of-enbridge-line-9-pipeline.html
Did you know…
- The average LAPP pension is just under $14,958 per year – and only after years of work and pension contributions.
- The LAPP Pension Fund fluctuates in value because of the stock market. It is currently on track to be in surplus within 10 years.
- Almost one in every 10 Albertans has a stake in either the LAPP or the PSPP.
November 1: Alberta NDP Convention in Lethbridge
November 22-24: Parkland Institute Conference in Edmonton
December 10: AFL Open House…in the new Office!