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CanadaCalgary union head says council's playing politics with 'attack' on pensions

09:35  29 april  2019
09:35  29 april  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

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© CBC Calgary city council will consider a review of city workers' pensions . The head of one of the City of Calgary ' s unions says councillors are playing politics by Lanovaz said members see the notice as "an attack " on a plan that is sustainable, and is considered a model for other regions.

The head of one of the City of Calgary ' s unions says councillors are playing politics by introducing a notice of motion to look at city worker pensions immediately after contract negotiations have been formally signed off on. "It appears that they've decided to wait until negotiations were completed to go

Calgary union head says council's playing politics with 'attack' on pensions © CBC Calgary city council will consider a review of city workers' pensions.

The head of one of the City of Calgary's unions says councillors are playing politics by introducing a notice of motion to look at city worker pensions immediately after contract negotiations have been formally signed off on.

"It appears that they've decided to wait until negotiations were completed to go after the pension plan. We don't see that as coincidental by any stretch of the imagination," said D'Arcy Lanovaz, the president of Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 38, which represents the city's indoor workers.

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Council will consider a notice of motion put forward by Coun. George Chahal on Monday, which asks the city to hire an outside consultant to undertake a thorough review of city employee's pension plans.

Chahal said the city spends about five per cent of its budget on pensions, or $208 million of the $3.8 billion the city spent last year.

Lanovaz said members see the notice as "an attack" on a plan that is sustainable, and is considered a model for other regions.

He suggested it's inaccurate to compare the Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP) to other cities like Montreal and Regina, as opposed to what he called "true competitors" like major corporate plans as hundreds of employers are part of the LAPP.

"These participants, both employer [and] employee groups in LAPP have spent a lot of time crafting and lobbying the government to make it a truly independent plan to specifically take the politics out of pensions," he said.

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"And here we have the City of Calgary [and] council putting politics back into pensions."

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has said there's already a citizen volunteer committee looking at pensions, and Lanovaz said there's also a governance committee that looks at the pension plan's finances.

"This review is very costly for the city and will not produce any new information," he said.

Chahal's motion calls for a review of all city pension plans, which includes the LAPP, the supplementary pension plan and pensions for firefighters and police.

"The City of Calgary has a limited revenue stream and pension liabilities have shown great volatility," Chahal said in an emailed release last week.

"With the recent $250 million hole in our budget due to downtown office values plummeting, I think now more than ever, we must … ensure we come up with the right solutions."

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