EDMONTON – Members of the Local Authority Pension Plan and all AUPE members have been asked by their union to telephone or email Premier Ed Stelmach and their own MLA to protest dangerous changes to the rules governing the Board of the LAPP.
AUPE suggests that union members make three key points when they call or email:
- The power of my union representatives on the LAPP Board to protect my benefits has been taken away.
- This means you’ve broken a deal with my union. You can now reduce my pension’s benefits and there’s nothing I can do about it!
- That’s not acceptable. You must put the LAPP’s Board rules back the way they were before November 2007.
The recent changes at the LAPP have put at risk the pension benefits of 125,000 Alberta municipal, health care and education workers, many of them members of AUPE.
In danger are rights to early retirement, cost of living allowances and workers’ ability to retire when their age and years of service add up to 85.
AUPE believes that if these changes are allowed to stand, they could also affect other public sector pension plans.
On Nov. 15, 2007, acting on the advice of its lawyer, the LAPP Board arbitrarily changed its decision-making rules.
The new rules break a long-standing agreement that required union approval for all significant changes to the policies or governance of the plan – opening the door for decisions that are against the interests of plan members.
The old rules, established after unions agreed to help bail out the plan’s unfunded liability in the early 1990s, required a two-thirds majority and a quorum of eight members of the board, which had to include four employer representatives and four employee representatives.
Now a simple majority is required and there need not be a single union representative present.
The new rules were passed by the LAPP Board using the new rules rather than the rules that were in place on Nov. 15.
The Labour Coalition on Pensions — a group with representatives of all unions with members in the LAPP, including AUPE — purchased full-page advertisements in all Alberta daily newspapers on Jan. 22.
These ads call on members and pensioners to telephone their MLAs and Premier Ed Stelmach at 310-0000 and tell them to overturn these changes.
The coalition has registered a Website — www.SaveMyPension.ca — where detailed information on the situation is available.
On Dec. 19, 2007, the coalition also commenced legal action to overturn the changes in the governance rules for the LASPP Board.
In addition to AUPE, members of the Coalition include: Alberta Colleges and Institutes Faculty Association; Alberta Federation of Labour; Amalgamated Transit Union; Canadian Union of Public Employees; Health Sciences Association of Alberta; and United Nurses of Alberta. The Coalition represents approximately 125,000 members of the $15-billion LAPP.
With a spring election imminent, now is the time to put pressure on the government to reverse this blatantly anti-worker decision before real damage is done to pensions.
If union activists can put a little more pressure on Premier Ed Stelmach and the government over the next few weeks, we may be able to force the government to act.
At the very least, each AUPE Local must get its union activists to telephone or e-mail Premier Ed Stelmach and their own MLA over the next few weeks.
*Tell them to restore the requirement for union approval for decisions by the LAPP Board.*
Please tell AUPE about the response you get from the Premier’s office and your MLA.