LANGLEY - CUPE members from Southern Railway voted with their feet on Saturday, July 26 to say they care about their pensions. Close to 60 retired and active members of CUPE 7000 took time away from a perfect summer day to meet in Langley and discuss a shortfall in pension plan funding. One retired member travelled all the way from Keremeos just to attend.
The meeting heard from CUPE national representative and pension staff Gary Johnson about the recent actuarial valuation of the Southern Rail pension plan. Members voted unanimously to establish a committee to meet with the employer to look at solutions to pension plan problems. As part of the meeting, members also signed up to participate in a community campaign if necessary.
Alistair Mackenzie, acting Vice-President of CUPE 7000, was very pleased with the turnout and with the mandate members gave the Union to act to protect the pension plan. “We had participation from those as young as 26 years of age here – as well as those who have been retired for ten years. It’s clear that the broad range of members, both our active and retired, understand how valuable our pension plan is and that they are ready to step up and participate in union and community activities,” said Mackenzie.
Johnson noted that the problems facing the CUPE 7000 pension plan are not unique to Southern Rail. “Because many CUPE members’ plans have faced similar circumstances, CUPE has vast experience working with locals and employers to find solutions.”