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Time to step up lobby on retiree benefits: Thomas

Publication Date

Friday, September 30, 2016 - 10:30am

The President of OPSEU is calling on members of the OPSEU Pension Trust (OPTrust) pension plan to step up their lobbying of local MPPs around the issue of post-retirement benefits.

“We have been fighting the government’s plan to make OPSEU members in OPTrust pay premiums for post-retirement benefits since the idea was first announced in 2014,” Thomas said. “I wish I could report that we’ve reached a resolution, but we haven’t.

“That’s why it’s more important than ever that our elected representatives know what is happening on this issue,” he said. “We need them to commit to turning this around.”

In a letter to Treasury Board President Liz Sandals yesterday, Thomas called the Liberals’ decision to make OPTrust retirees pay half the cost of post-retirement benefits after January 1, 2017 “blatantly unfair."

“OPSEU members who began working in the Ontario Public Service, the LCBO, and other agencies of the government did so with the understanding that retiree benefits were a part of their overall compensation,” Thomas told Sandals. “For a government led by a Premier who has expressed so much concern about the plight of seniors and retirees to turn around and effectively cut their pensions is disgraceful.”

The government announced its plan in January 2014. Union members filed close to 1,400 individual grievances on the matter, and OPSEU has filed a policy grievance. Preliminary hearings into the matter have been held; further hearings are scheduled for April and May of 2017. In the meantime, members of OPTrust who are making decisions about retirement should make those decisions based on what they know.

In his letter yesterday, President Thomas asked the President of Treasury Board for a meeting as soon as possible to attempt to resolve the matter face to face. Read the letter here.