Ontario College Support Staff Newsletter
October 2012 - Issue 2
Hands off Our
spring and summer, your CAAT Pension Plan representatives have been meeting with
the Liberal government in two separate forums.
The first forum
has been with the Pension Secretariat's office. Most recently we have met with
MPP Donna Cansfield. She has been the messenger of the government to say that
they will draft new legislation in the fall that says all jointly sponsored
pension plans must have the following:
50/50 contributions between employers and members;
dispute resolution process in place;
case of a plan deficit in providing benefits to members, no contribution
increases will be allowed until after December 31,2017 and therefore future
benefits must be decreased;
order to restore those benefits, the pension plan would have to be fully funded
at 110% and this could not happen until after December 2017.
Our plan has
50/50 contributions and a dispute resolution process. If we allow the government
to tie our hands, or to take away all our tools for managing our pension plan,
our plan will no longer hold the current benefit provisions. We believe in
intergenerational equity because without it future members will be paying large
contributions and getting far less in benefits. The result will be that people
get fed up with paying large amounts of money and not reaping the rewards.
Employers will get rid of defined benefit pension plans and the inevitable
losers are all of us.
The second forum
involves Ontario’s plans for Broader Public Sector Pension Efficiencies lead by
Special Advisor, Bill Morneau. He is exploring the pooling of smaller pension
plans and other funds, and has indicated that he wants the CAAT Pension Plan to
be part of this pooling. Believing that bigger is better, he proposes pooling
the assets of our plan with others, such as the OPSEU Pension Trust, Hydro,
Universities, TTC, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Fund, etc. We are
concerned that the government wants to take control of our deferred wages and
pool them with others to create a large slush fund. This could in turn be used
to pay down government deficits and/or pay for private/ public partnerships. We
would no longer have the same control over our money as we currently do.
Although sometimes bigger is better, too big can mean bigger losses. We should
be able to determine whom we pool with. We do not want the government to dictate
this process and take control of our monies.
All of us have a
vested interest in the outcome of these discussions and the planned new
legislation. Take the time to tell your MPP that they should take their hands
off your pension plan. The OPSEU website contains tools to assist you with this.
Your pension is your deferred wages. Allowing the government to ruin your
retirement future is in no one’s best interest.
How to File a JIC Appeal
What can be appealed through the JIC?
Any decision by your College or SunLife regarding any negotiated benefit that is
part of our group insurance plan, including eligibility and dependent
eligibility, life insurance, long term disability (LTD), dental, paramedical,
drug claims, etc.
How do I authorize an appeal?
You must complete, sign and submit OPSEU’s “Authorization to Discuss Claim File”
form. This allows Kim MacPherson, OPSEU Benefits Officer, to discuss the
particulars of your case, including personal medical information, with SunLife.
The Committee respects the confidentiality of members filing appeals and only
discusses specific personal information at meetings where absolutely necessary
to argue against a decision. Specific medical documentation collected by Kim
MacPherson for SunLife is not shared with committee members.
You must also complete, sign and submit an “OPSEU Medical Release Form” for each
treating doctor, dentist, medical or paramedical specialist that has been
involved in the decision you are appealing. For example, if you are being
treated by your family doctor, a neurologist and a psychologist, it would be
helpful to your appeal to provide medical releases for all three doctors. Kim
MacPherson will then have a signed permission from you to contact these doctors,
ask questions to clarify your case, and seek notes or documentation that will
help her prove to SunLife that their decision was in error.
How Long Does it Take?
Typically, straight-forward appeals can take two to three meetings or some
months to resolve. The case must be explained to SunLife representatives. They
then require time to re-evaluate their decision. Often there is more medical
information required after their evaluation and additional time to evaluate the
additional information after it is obtained and submitted by Kim. Long Term
Disability cases, especially where there are multiple illnesses/injuries or
inconclusive medical tests, can take six months to two years to resolve. Members
filing LTD appeals should also file claims with E.I. for sick benefits, while
waiting for their appeal to be processed. If their appeal is successful, they
will need to pay any E.I. benefits back from the retroactive LTD money they
receive from SunLife.
Who Can Help?
You may contact any elected member of your JIC or Kim MacPherson, OPSEU Benefits
Officer, for assistance or to acquire appeal forms. Feel free to contact Kim and
a JIC member. The better we understand your situation, the better we can argue
on your behalf.
Kim MacPherson, Benefits Counsellor, OPSEU
100 Lesmill Road, North York, Ontario M3B 3P8
Tel. 416.443.8888 ext. 8361 (1.800.268.7376)
Fax 416.443.0553; firstname.lastname@example.org
Chair, Joint Insurance Committee
Work: 416.491.5050, ext. 33047
Home: 905.472.4258 (preferred for detailed discussions)
Did you know?
You are entitled to three paid Professional Development days each year. You can
find your rights under Article 9.5 of the collective agreement. You also might
want to check with your union local to find out when the year begins and ends.
In some colleges it is an academic year and in others it might be the budget
year or calendar year.
If you don’t use your annual days, they don’t accumulate. For many rounds of
negotiations, members have asked for an increase in the number of available days
per year and yet we know many members do not use the current allotment.
THE UNION’S NEVER DONE ANYTHING FOR
Taken from an article written By
(Rick retired in June after over
35 years of service to Durham College and the members of the CAAT Support
statement? Probably most that read this article consider this a very accurate
statement. I can tell you that it is not unique to the members of any College
Support Staff Local, or OPSEU members in general.
It is a
statement that I have heard numerous times over the years as a union activist,
from members of every union that I have had the pleasure of meeting and talking
listening to it the number of times that I have, you actually begin to ask
yourself the same question; only because you are an activist you start to search
for an answer.
of you may know, I have been a little bit involved with the union both locally
and provincially for a couple of years. I know from experience that it is always
the union that brings members’ issues forward.
our Collective Agreement is our terms and conditions of employment let me start
the quest for my search to the answer there.
is normally the union side of the bargaining table that is searching for
improvements to our wages, benefits, job security and language improvements for
our members and college employees, I wanted to compare what we had in 1970 to
what we now have:
In 1970 the wages ranged from $1.74 per hour to $4.83 per hour, 42 years later
they range from $17.78 per hour to $46.38 per hour. I believe the Union got
that for me, I don’t believe the Employer graciously handed that over.
In 1970 your annual incremental increases (moving through the pay grid) could be
withheld, subject to satisfactory performance of duties, your 6 month
probationary period could be extended by an additional 6 months by the College.
Now your step increases are automatic and they can’t unilaterally extend
In 1970 we had the statutory holidays found under the law except for two
holidays as specified by the college, but you were expected to be at work
between Boxing Day and New Years Day. We now have that week off and sometimes we
are able to get the colleges to agree to additional days off.
In 1970 you were allotted two weeks vacation after one year of service, three
weeks after three years service and four weeks after twenty years of continuous
service. Check out Article 11 of your current Agreement, not only do you receive
vacation days quicker but you also receive additional days for each year of
service and there is two more weeks of vacation allotted.
In 1970 an employee could apply for a maternity leave. If it was not practical
for the College the employee would be terminated, but be given preferential
treatment for future vacancies. No Supplementary Benefit Plan, No parental
Leave, No seniority, and you would be given “preferential” treatment if you
wanted to return to work. Let’s not forget that it was Union Activists lobbying
governments to change the 17 weeks into a year’s leave of absence.
In 1970 you could be granted a leave of absence without loss of pay to attend
the funeral of your parent, spouse, child, brother or sister. I think you will
find our current Article 12.5 is a greatly expanded version of this.
In 1970 there was no Personal Leave with Pay (Article 12.2), no Citizenship
Leave (Article 12.7), no Parental Leave (Article 12.3.2), no Adoption Leave
(Article 12.3.2), and no Prepaid Leave Plan (Article 12.8).
In 1970 there was no bumping process. If it was determined that your
classification required one less person, then the one with the lowest seniority
was laid off. They were not given an opportunity to “bump” into any other job.
In 1970 your benefits included $2,000 of Life Insurance, which you had to pay
25% of the premiums, OHIP coverage, which you had to pay 25% of the premiums and
Workmen’s Compensation. There were no “sick days” (Short Term Disability Plan),
there was no Long Term Disability Plan except if you happened to qualify for
Workman’s Compensation. There was no Extended Health Plan, which includes the
85% reimbursement of prescribed drugs, equipment, paramedical services such as
Speech Therapists, Physiotherapists, Psychologists, Osteopaths, Chiropractors,
Chiropodists, Podiatrists, Naturopaths or Masseurs. There was no Vision Care,
there was no Hearing Care and there was no Dental Plan. Today, the College pays
100% of the premiums for everything except for Long Term Disability, Vision and
Hearing where they pay 75% of the premiums.
have been a number of other improvements in our Collective Agreement in those 42
years that I have not mentioned here. I have had the privilege of representing
the members on several bargaining teams. I can tell you from that experience
that all of these changes were not given to us by the employer. Your bargaining
team had to argue, make representations, research and provide documentation to
achieve these goals and twice we had to take a strike. So yes, the union did do
this on your behalf.
today’s world where employers and governments want to strip collective
agreements, take away rights and entitlements, and contract out work to the
lowest bidder; take a moment and ask yourself what will this mean for me and
for the workers of tomorrow. What will the jobs 42 years from today look like if
workers have no rights to wages, benefits, job security or pensions? Ask
yourself if this is the type of workplace you would want to leave to your
children and grandchildren.