On Wednesday, more than 600 members of CUPE-Quebec attended the opening of a special meeting on pension plans meeting in Montreal. The two-day event, under the theme “Protégeons notre avenir” (Let’s protect our future), offered union activists a chance to put pension plans under the microscope and helped to give CUPE-Quebec a clearer picture of its position in the current debate.
CUPE is the first trade union in Quebec to hold this type of think‑tank session.
In her opening statement, CUPE-Quebec President Lucie Levasseur thanked the many activists who went out of their way to share their thoughts and focus on the future. Levasseur blames the current pension plan crisis on the 2007 financial collapse and on past pension contribution holidays.
Denis Bolduc, secretary general of CUPE-Quebec, underlined the meeting’s objectives. “We’re fighting to secure a decent living and retirement for everyone. We have two days to find common ground in order to come up with solutions to tackle the pension plan crisis. We must make a move. The status quo is not an option.”
In a nutshell, the two-day conference consisted of specialized seminars on various aspects of pension plans and closed-door discussions on February 23, to build a common vision and understanding of the retirement issues at stake.
For more information on the workshop and what was covered, view the detailed schedule.
Read the Op-Ed by Dennis Bolduc:
Pension deficits aren’t the fault of public-sector workers (Montreal Gazette, February 22, 2012)
Currently, a majority of Canadian workers do not have a workplace pension plan, and one-third has absolutely no savings set aside for retirement. The loss of supplemental pension plans would mean an increase in poverty among seniors, which in return would mean higher costs for the government in health care and social services.
It’s about time the general public hears our voice on this issue. These are our pensions.