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TORONTO The Ernie Eves Conservatives were so desperate going into the election campaign that they set up secret talks that would have given police and firefighters special treatment within the OMERS pension plan, says CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer Brian OKeefe.

Just days before the election was called, Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister David Young sent a letter to OMERS Chair Bill Rayburn inviting him to a September meeting, which the government had arranged with police and fire representatives, to discuss the pension plan.

The only reason for this meeting was to assure police and firefighters that a Tory government would continue working on the special deal they initiated in the spring, said OKeefe. The Ernie Eves government was so desperate, they were willing to use the pension plan of thousands of Ontarians for crass political purposes.

Last spring, CUPE Ontario, and other members of the Coalition for OMERS Pension Fairness, revealed that the government and OMERS board were working on a deal that could have seen lower paid workers, such as school board custodians and municipal roads workers, subsidizing the retirement incomes of higher paid workers, like police and firefighters.

Together, the Conservatives and the OMERS board scuttled negotiations that were ongoing between employer and employee members of the pension plan, who were trying to develop a new governance model, OKeefe said. Then they tried to make a secret deal to give police and firefighters a say in the plan that no other members have.

Theres no reason for the government to have moved ahead with these talks last month except to bolster support for their own re-election.

CUPE members in OMERS are looking forward to having a new government after October 2, said OKeefe. CUPE will move quickly to meet with the new government to push for true joint worker/employer ownership of OMERS that provides both parties with the power to make decisions.


For more information, please contact:

Brian OKeefe, Secretary-Treasurer, CUPE Ontario
416-579-7414 (cell)

Pat Daley, CUPE Ontario, CUPE Communications
416-299-9739 Ext 264
416-616-6142 (cell)