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Civic unions set to submit their own pension proposal – Regina

REGINA – The Civic Benefits Committee “will” be making a counter submission to the provincial regulator.

The announcement was made to about 700 city pension members who packed the Conexus Arts Centre for a town hall meeting Monday night, discussing the future of the pension plan.

Just over a month ago, the provincial regulator threatened to cancel the plan all together if the unions and city couldn’t come to an agreement soon.

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The two sides met once after that, but talks fell apart. So, last week the City of Regina submitted its own proposal without any union input, calling it the “responsible thing to do” for taxpayers.

The unions were upset by the move. They say the deal is significantly different from the letter of understanding (LOI) it signed with employee groups in 2013.

“The city’s plan is their own plan,” said Kirby Benning, the Civic Benefits Committee Chair. “It’s not something that’s been developed with us. We want them to work with us like we did on the original LOI and honour that deal.”

They’re concerned the city is trying to keep the concessions unions agreed to, while stripping away the major benefits.

They’ll try to rectify it with their own proposal.

“Ours does honour the deal that was put forward,” said Benning. “We didn’t rip the heart out of it, which is what the city did by moving away from a defined benefit plan and putting a funding cap in. They have done that and that is why we made the concessions we did.”

At the town hall meeting union leaders clarified their position on this feud, and answered questions on how they’ll move forward.

The National President for the Canadian Union for Public Employees, Paul Moist, says he intends to remind the city of what they agreed to in 2013.

“We have viable solutions short of radical surgery to the plan, and removing the defined benefit nature of the plan,” said Moist. “The pension regulator suggesting that they’ll wind up the plan, these are extraordinary comments, unnecessary. We should be resisting radical moves in the plan. We should be fixing and stabilizing the plan, and we want to assure these members we have the tools to do that.”

He says they’ll be submitting a letter of intent to the regulator shortly, with a full proposal to follow.

Meanwhile, the City of Regina announced Monday they’ll be holding a series of information sessions about this issue over the next few weeks.

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