Twice in the past three years, members of the OMERS pension plan have fought off “conditional indexing” which threatens our cost of living raises in retirement.
And now, here we are again. This time they’ve given it a new name: “shared risk indexing.” But it’s pretty much the same old thing as before: the OMERS Sponsors Corporation (SC) Board is looking to ditch guaranteed indexing.
What’s happening here is pretty simple.
OMERS is a great pension plan. It has 100% guaranteed indexing, which means retirees are guaranteed cost of living raises every year.
In June 2020, the OMERS SC Board will be voting on whether to move from guaranteed indexing to “shared risk” indexing. That means our raises in retirement will depend on whether 2/3 of the SC Board think the fund is healthy enough to give us a raise. But they have refused to tell us what exactly would trigger the cancellation of our raises. And once they cancel our raises, it will take 2/3 of this board – made up of both unions and employers – to reinstate our cost of living increases again.
There is no reason to do this. The plan is healthy. It’s 97% funded, and well on track to return to 100% funding. It has $109 billion in assets.
In fact, the plan is doing so well that the SC Board members gave themselves large raises this year – while trying to take away our guaranteed raises in retirement.
Take action to protect our pension!
There are several things we can do right now to protect our raises in retirement:
Write to the OMERS SC Board demanding that they keep guaranteed indexing in the plan.
Join the Telephone Town Hall on May 12
Save the date! President Warren (Smokey) Thomas will be hosting two Telephone Town Hall sessions on Tuesday, May 12 to share information, answer your questions and mobilize to oppose this change to the OMERS pension plan. You can choose 11 a.m. or 7 p.m., whichever works best with your schedule.
In the meantime, you can send your questions and comments for the May 12 Telephone Town Hall to OMERStownhall@opseu.org.
What we’ve done so far
President Thomas wrote a letter to the OMERS SC Board asking them to postpone the vote and reschedule it several months after the coronavirus crisis is over, so that OMERS plan members can focus their attention on fighting COVID-19 now, and then have the opportunity to put their minds to their pension later. But the OMERS SC Board insists on holding their vote in June 2020.
Many of us have already taken action by sending emails and attending the OMERS AGM by webcast on April 8th and asking the OMERS Board some tough questions. President Thomas also submitted a question at the AGM: Wouldn’t it be better to delay the vote until OMERS members can give it their full attention? The answer was blunt from OMERS Board Chair Michael Rolland: No.
Mr. Rolland says they will be “engaging digitally” with us in the weeks to come before the vote in June. Well, if they want engagement, let’s give it to them. Keep sending emails to the OMERS SC Board. Demand that they protect our raises in retirement by voting to keep guaranteed indexing.
We should be proud of the work that we are doing on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis. We are earning every penny of our retirement raises, now and always. Let’s protect our pension plan together.