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St. John’s – The president of CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador, Wayne Lucas, says the City of St. John’s should take a page out of Tom Marshall’s book when it comes to negotiating employee pensions.

“In protecting the defined benefit pension plan for present and future employees the premier showed he has a vision for the future of the province,” says Lucas.  “Why is it that the province has a vision, but the City of St. John’s is so near-sighted?  Are municipal employees second class citizens?”

Lucas is referring to the stalled negotiations between the City of St. John’s and its employees, members of CUPE Locals 569 and 1289.  The City wants to put all new employees into a defined contribution (DC) plan, instead of the defined benefit (DB) plan that has been in place for 40 years.  The locals are insistent that all employees have a DB plan, which pays modest but secure benefits, rather than a risky DC plan.

CUPE National Representative Ed White says he is frustrated with the City’s refusal to return to the table.  “We are prepared at any time to meet with the employer and continue to bargain fair agreements for our members,” says White, “but the City has offered no dates for further meetings. Why aren’t we talking?”

CUPE Local 569 represents 450 workers who provide services such as garbage/recycling collection, snow clearing, street maintenance and water and sewer.

Local 1289 represents 370 workers whose services include clerical, building permits and inspections, parking enforcement and recreation.