TORONTO – Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario demands that McGuinty’s Liberal government make drastic amendments to the OMERS Bill 206 — the new plan to manage the municipal employees pension plan — or, that they start over using a collaborative process that includes the real stakeholders.
“The McGuinty government is trying to push through Bill 206, that now includes 46 last minute amendments made at second reading in December,” said Brian O’Keefe, secretary-treasurer of CUPE Ontario. “As it stands now, Bill 206 will make OMERS unaccountable to the members. There will be 40 directors on two boards, with neither board, nor an individual director, held accountable to anyone. CUPE cannot allow this to happen.”
The decision-making capacity of OMERS has been severely limited by the recent inclusion of a two-thirds voting majority requirement for the Sponsors’ Corporation board making it virtually impossible to make decisions about members’ benefits and contributions.
With the new amendments, McGuinty took an axe to the original mediation/arbitration process by replacing the 50/50 deadlock access to mediation/arbitration with a majority vote requirement. But perhaps the most cynical move of all at second reading was giving a group representing senior municipal managers a seat on the employee side of the table on both the Sponsors’ Corporation and the Administration Corporation. Representatives from this group have traditionally sat on the employers’ side of the table. CUPE wants representation by population, a long-standing democratic tradition.
“OMERS has been based on fairness to all members, but Bill 206 will bring that to an end,” O’Keefe continued. “The political deal-making has created supplemental benefits that will allow a minority — mostly higher paid men — enhanced benefits locked in forever. While the lower paid — mostly female members—- are locked out of benefits they may deserve.
“We’ve called a mass meeting of CUPE provincial leadership for January 25 at the Delta Chelsea in Toronto to consider a call for workplace votes that may result in job action. This is the first day of the second round of public hearings and we’ll be making a deputation then as well,” he said.
For further information or interview requests, contact:
CUPE communications representative
(416) 299-9739 ext. 264