OMERS Board Betrays Plan Members, Eliminates Guaranteed Indexing

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Sent on behalf of CUPE Ontario President, Fred Hahn – 
 
CUPE Ontario is profoundly disappointed to report to you that the OMERS Sponsor Corporation Board of Directors has voted in favour of eliminating the guaranteed indexing of your pension for service worked after December 31, 2022.

The “Shared Risk indexing” proposal passed. This means that for service worked after December 31, 2022, annual indexing for that portion of your OMERS pension could be reduced or even eliminated. It is especially bad for younger workers or new hires who will have to work most or all their career without getting the guaranteed indexing of their pension in retirement. Plan members who are already retired are not impacted by this change.

Indexing is the annual increase to your pension to keep up with the cost-of-living. Just like your union fights for wage increases, we must also fight for pension increases. Our living standards should improve, not decline. After a lifetime of work, workers expect to have a decent and secure retirement. That means having a pension that increases with the cost-of-living, so we don’t get farther and farther behind. Indexing is especially important for workers who don’t earn as much as they should. For example, the average pension for a CUPE school board worker after 30 years of service is only about $15,000/year.

Ending the certainty that your pension will increase by the cost-of-living every year is a major blow to your retirement security. Instead of having that guarantee, it will be left to the Board to decide every year, with no real rules to follow. We will now have to fight every year to pressure the same Board that just eliminated guaranteed indexing to grant full conditional indexing.

A two-thirds vote of the Board was needed for “Shared Risk indexing” to pass. If all the Worker/Retiree Representatives stood united and voted against it, it could have been defeated. Instead, it’s clear that some voted with Employers on this proposal. CUPE, OPSEU, ATU, CIPP and several other unions who collectively represent a majority of Plan members were opposed to this proposal. Through CUPE Ontario’s defendyouromers.ca website, almost 60,000 e-mails were sent to the Board urging the Representatives to vote no. But the Board of Directors has ignored the voices of unions and Plan members and has eliminated guaranteed indexing in the middle of a global pandemic.

Other plan changes were passed. The Board voted in favour of 3 technical changes that make OMERS service buybacks easier for workers on layoff or reduced earnings in light of disruption caused by COVID-19. These changes should have been implemented far sooner, but we believe OMERS decided to package them today with  “Shared Risk indexing” in an attempt for a positive spin. The Board also passed an amendment that makes it easier for part-time, casual and contract workers to join OMERS – which CUPE Ontario fully supports. These other plan changes in no way make up for the fact that the Board has passed “Shared Risk indexing”, a major concession for Plan members.

The past 9 months have exposed grave concerns about the leadership of OMERS and the direction the Plan is headed. A concerted effort has been made to distance the Board of Directors from the Sponsor Organizations and Plan members they represent. CUPE Ontario is extremely worried that the Board of Directors and key decision-makers have lost sight of the Plan’s fundamental purpose.

We know this news is difficult during this already incredibly challenging time working and living amid a global pandemic. Members have been rightly focused on keeping our families and communities safe and healthy.

I promise you that our campaign does not end here. CUPE Ontario members, the single largest group of members in OMERS, will never stop fighting for the indexing of our pensions. Working with other unions, we will campaign to take back the Plan from those who listen more to the bankers and Bay Street types than Plan members, and make sure OMERS is working in the interest of workers. We will never stop fighting to fix OMERS.

Stay tuned for future actions.

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Tentative Agreements Reached!

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Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you that all 3 Units of CUPE 4222 have reached tentative agreements with the Thames Valley District School Board.

The Executive is currently investigating online/telephone voting platforms suitable for a membership our size due to the on-going limitations of group sizes still in place because of Covid-19. We are hopeful voting will take place sometime in July.
The 1% increase awarded through Central negotiations will be issued retroactively to September 1, 2019 following ratification of our local agreement although no date for distribution has been determined at this time.
Be sure to keep checking your emails for updates!

Columbia Warehouse Invitation – June 2020

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We are pleased to announce that Columbia Warehouse has extended another invitation to CUPE 4222 members beginning June 26 – July 19, 2020.
CLICK HERE for the Invitation
Members are welcome to bring up to 4 family members/friends to shop per visit. To gain access to the store please take the following with you:
1. Invitation letter – either printed or shown on a digital device
2. CUPE 4222 membership card OR your TVDSB paystub (found in employee portal)
3. A piece of personal photo ID
Members may access the Warehouse multiple times during the invitation period. This notice will also be emailed to all members with contact information on file and posted on our Facebook page.

GSN Statement

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Posted on behalf of OSBCU President, Laura Walton

Despite an increase in per-pupil funding in the GSN, the government is once again trying to sell “status quo” as more.
A 3 percent increase to the 2020-2021 GSN will pay for increasing enrolment, the cost of the government’s labour settlements (including changes to class sizes), and inflation – additional costs that the government either already agreed to or must pay anyway.
Some funding is counted as new, even though it isn’t; for example, the “new” Support for Students Fund includes money that CUPE negotiated last October.
But most importantly, school boards will still be left to figure out how to find the money for the additional measures they will have to take to ensure there won’t be an outbreaks of COVID-19 in our schools.
There is still not enough in the 2020-2021 GSN to do everything that’s needed to keep students and staff safe and healthy in post-pandemic schools.

Guidelines for Unit A, B & D

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The following is a guideline if you asked to go into the school

Unit A Custodians
You may be asked to supply bags to teachers for packing up student belongings
You may be asked to clean/sanitize and clean all touch points
You may help with lifting heavy bags
You may assist with organizing and curb-side pick up
When packages arrive, you may deliver them to the office and let admin know it is there

Unit B Elementary Office and Clerical
Admin must be in the building when you are

It must be meaningful work that you cannot do from home
You may be asked to received goods but do not sit at school waiting for deliveries
You may be asked to print labels for teachers to put on students bags
You may be asked to assist in sorting bags by family once the teacher sorts them alphabetically

You may be asked to assist with curb-side pick up

You may be asked to do bank deposit, however if you do not have proper PPE you
cannot be forced to go to the bank

Unit B – Secondary School Office and Clerical
Admin must be in the building when you are
It must be meaningful work that you cannot do from home
You may be asked to received goods but do not sit at school waiting for deliveries
You may be asked to do bank deposit, however if you do not have proper PPE you cannot be forced to go to the bank
A plan for students to empty their lockers will need to be worked out with admin

Unit D ECE
Admin must be in the building when you are
You may work with your teaching partner to pack your students belongings
You will continue to teach from home on all other days
If asked to assist with curb-side pick up please explain to your admin how it will impact your students learning which is the same way it would if the teacher was assisting

All Staff

There should not be any hand to hand passing of objects
When doing curb-side pick up it is best to put items in the trunk of vehicle
If parents feel something is missing they are to take what is given to them and contact the admin with a list of missing items
If you are in Unit B or D and fail the assessment, please discuss with admin how duties at school can be done and what work you are doing at home.  Under most situations you do not need to enter anything in TVARRIS. Please let us know if an admin wants you to put illness in TVARRIS.
If teachers don’t go in to pack students belongings, we advise that you do not do this task
All members are reminded to social distance and stay safe. If at anytime you do not feel safe talk to your admin/supervisor, if they haven’t fixed it please reach out to us
If at anytime you are unsure of a task assigned , please check with your supervisor to clarify the expectation, if still unsure please contact us.
Victoria Toulouse
presidentcupe4222@gmail.com
Joanne Dowswell
chiefstewardcupe4222@gmail.com

May General Membership Meeting – CANCELLED

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The General Membership Meeting scheduled for Saturday May 23, 2020 will be CANCELLED. Our next meeting is tentatively scheduled for June 13, 2020 beginning at 9:30 am.
As a reminder: Please be aware the CUPE 4222 Office remains CLOSED. Executive members can be reached via cell phone and email. All contact information can be found at www.cupe4222.ca under the “Contact Us” tab. Telephone messages and emails will be answered remotely. If you have Unit specific questions please contact your Unit Vice President for clarification.

Redeployment Question and Answer Sheet

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As COVID-19 continues to impact all Ontarians, Ontario’s education system has maintained its focus on supporting student learning, thanks to your support. I want to thank you for your hard work, perseverance and patience during this time.
The school board sector is fortunate in that we have suffered few layoffs and that we continue to be paid, even though many of us are not performing our regular duties.
However, there are other workplaces in our communities that are facing critical staffing shortages. I know that there are many education sector employees who want to help while school are closed for learning.
The Ministry of Education also recognizes that we are “under-utilized” (its term) and has worked with education unions, including CUPE, to develop a framework that would allow education workers to help address staffing shortages in other sectors.
The terms of this framework have now been agreed and CUPE education workers will soon have the opportunity to volunteer through an online provincial portal. They will be matched with local employers that need their services for non-clinical roles.
Matching will be based on members’ skills/abilities, geographic location and availability. Employers in need could include hospitals, long-term care homes, retirements homes, group homes, youth shelters and other residential congregate care settings. (NB: Employees who are required to support Continuity of Learning in the education sector are not eligible for temporary redeployments.)
However, redeployment should only take place when CUPE 4222 has a signed a redeployment agreement, so before applying through the portal, please check that the local has completed an agreement that will protect you and your rights during redeployment.
Redeployed education workers will remain employees of the Thames Valley District School Board and will continue to be covered by the terms of our CUPE collective agreement.
Whether to volunteer, to be redeployed or not, is a highly personal decision. Training and safety equipment will be provided to help ensure everyone’s safety, but there is always a degree of risk. There will be no reprisals for members who don’t volunteer to be redeployed, and the redeployment can be ended at anytime.
CLICK HERE for a helpful Redeployment Question and Answer sheet for members considering this.