REGINA: Unions representing workers enrolled in the Regina Civic Employees Superannuation and Benefit Plan are reluctantly moving forward with grievances relating to the City of Regina’s refusal to implement rate increases.
After the 2008 financial crisis, a funding shortfall was revealed in the Regina plan. The terms of the plan and Saskatchewan pension law required the City and plan members to make up the shortfall through increased contributions. Plan members were prepared to comply with these rules, but the City was not. Council voted to break the terms of its own pension bylaw and provincial law and did not increase its contributions as required.
“The trouble the pension plan is facing now goes back to this City Council refusal to make the required contributions to the plan in 2011,” said Kirby Benning, Chair of the Pension and Benefits Committee. “They have not been in compliance with the Act, and now it is workers and retirees that are facing the consequences.”
In 2011, employee groups asked the Superintendent to intervene and force the City to comply with the rules. The Superintendent preferred a negotiated outcome, but further delays in implementing a new deal have led the Superintendent of Pensions to look at cancelling the pension plan – a decision which would have a significant impact on plan members.
Union representatives are now turning to their collective agreements as an avenue to get the City to comply with the Act. CUPE locals 7, 21, 650, 1594, 3766 and 3967, ATU and IAFF have all filed or resubmitted previous grievances today.
“Working together with the City to implement the negotiated deal is our preferred method of resolving this deadlock, but we are committed to using every tool we have at our disposal to pressure the City to Honour Our Deal,” added Benning. “We are now moving forward with using our collective agreements as a tool and filing grievances.”
“We are asking that the City start making the required payments and take steps to become compliant with the Act,” said Benning. “Furthermore, we ask that the City starts to work with employee groups to implement the signed pension deal. This will save the City money while respecting a modest and decent defined benefit pension for its hard workers – just as it agreed it would.”