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HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE-BAY – The union representing municipal workers in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador says its members are determined to fight to protect their pension plan.

CUPE National Representative Ed White says, “Talks have broken off because this employer has tabled a major concession to the Local 2019 contract in the form a ‘two-tiered’ pension plan. “Currently, these employees have a defined benefit pension plan (DB) and the town wants to move to an inferior defined contribution plan (DC) for all new hires,” says White.

The union says a DC plan is nothing more than a glorified RRSP, which exposes plan members to the vagaries of the market and does not guarantee any kind of retirement security for employees. During the 2008 collapse, for example, these plans suffered massive reductions. White says, “The mayor and council of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, meanwhile, have just given themselves a whopping pay increase at the same time that they want employees to roll back decades of pension plan protections that they’ve fought for and secured.”

CUPE says the town pension plan is well funded just five years after the biggest financial crisis in 80 years. It is more than sustainable as a DB pension plan. CUPE has asked the Conciliation Officer to file his report, which will start the clock ticking toward a possible work stoppage.