Market Overview

Strike looms as Credit Union cuts defined benefit pension


Strike looms as Credit Union cuts defined benefit pension

Canada NewsWire

ANTIGONISH, NS, July 20, 2018 /CNW/ - East Coast Credit Union is acting more like a big bank in the callous way it is treating its loyal workers at three branches in Nova Scotia, says Unifor.

"How can this employer call itself your friendly community credit union with its race-to-the-bottom tactics against a mostly female workforce," said Lana Payne, Atlantic Regional Director. "For years these workers took less pay in order to have a decent pension plan. It's unacceptable that this employer has said it wants to eliminate it."

Yesterday a provincial conciliator filed a report to the Minister of Labour, which means Unifor Local 2107 and the employer will be in a legal strike/lock-out position as of August 2, 2018.

The union represents 44 full and part-time workers, mostly women, in Antigonish, New Glasgow and St. Andrews who voted 98 per cent on July 3, 2018 in favour of strike action, after the employer notified Unifor it is seeking permission from the Superintendent of Pensions to change the defined benefit pension plan to a lesser defined contribution plan.

"East Coast Credit Union claims to be 'firmly rooted in the communities' and takes 'a human approach,' to decisions,' but to take away our pension plan and replace it with a less secure plan is just not fair to current workers and nor is it fair to the next generation of workers," said Jeanne Doiron, unit chair.

The credit union and the current defined plan are both in fine financial shape. The employer has called the current pension plan a "risk" suggesting it is so generous it would allow workers to retire on 90 per cent of their earnings. There are no employees with enough years of service to come anywhere close to that alleged amount.

The true replacement ratio is 42.25 per cent, including CPP for a member retiring at age 60.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.


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