Halifax – Halifax Water continues to use misleading figures in its communication with ratepayers and the public about the current work stoppage.
That allegation comes today from the union representing its 335 striking employees, CUPE.
CUPE Pension Specialist Kevin Skerrett, who has been at the bargaining table for Locals 227 and 1431, says, “To suggest that they are contributing $2 for every $1 that plan members contribute to the pension plan is completely misleading and deceptive. “Anyone reading this statement would reasonably conclude that there’s a permanent 2:1 employer-to-employee ratio in plan funding. That is not true. The 2:1 ratio is temporary and is scheduled to decline every year until, after a projected 10 years, it becomes a 1:1 ratio again. It could even be sooner than that,” explains Skerrett.
“They also leave out the very central point that the union has already endorsed in its last proposal the use of any plan surpluses to fully reimburse the employer’s temporary deficit payments. The Halifax Water ads exclude these key details because they illustrate how reasonable the union has been, and undercut the image that they are trying to create of an excessively costly plan,” says Skerrett.
CUPE Nova Scotia President Danny Cavanagh, meanwhile, says, “It’s really quite deplorable that a public sector employer with the stature and community standing of Halifax Water would target ratepayers who aren’t fortunate enough to have a pension plan of their own and try to use those folks against its own employees. “This is underhanded and hits a new low for Carl Yates and the Board of Commissioners of Halifax Water. They’re choosing to join the ranks of the CFIB, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and all the other pro-business, anti-labour groups that would like to see a Canada where nobody has retirement security. It’s a survival of the fittest, race to the bottom mentality,” says Cavanagh.