In Quebec, CUPE will be the first union to hold a think-tank session on pension plans. An extraordinary meeting of its activists will be held in Montreal on February 22 and 23, to take stock of pension plans in general and supplemental plans in particular.
More than 600 people have registered for the meeting, which has two specific objectives. “First, education. The full file on pension plans is extremely complex. We need to equip our members to fully understand this file. And second, we will try to reach a common position for confronting structural problems in the plans and the misleading rhetoric of those who would slash what we have been accumulating for our old age,” said Denis Bolduc, secretary-general of CUPE-Quebec.
“Right now, a number of critics are using the downturn in financial markets to denigrate supplemental pension plans, particularly plans for employees of municipalities and the public sector. They issue a regular barrage of comments and opinions that are totally disconnected from reality,” added Bolduc. “Of course there are problems, but you don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.”
Current pressures from governments and employers, amplified by an unprecedented media campaign, are leading people to believe that we need to reduce the benefits to which workers are entitled. “Workers have built supplemental plans by waiving a portion of their earnings to invest in their retirement. We will not let others decide for us what needs to be done. At the same time, we also need to ensure the sustainability of the plans,” concluded Bolduc.
The special meeting will be held at the Montreal Holiday Inn Midtown, 420 Sherbrooke West, on February 22 and 23.