Press Release October 2nd 2014
For Immediate Release October 2nd 2014
City misleads transit workers on proposed retirement benefits
Saskatoon, SK – The City of Saskatoon has deliberately misled transit workers on their retirement security by claiming they would receive a “predictable” monthly payment when they retire under a proposal the city is attempting to force on workers says Amalgamated Transit Union Local 615.
The city manager bypassed the union sending a letter to transit workers making false claims about the financial viability and responsibility of the proposed retirement plan.
“What the city is claiming is simply not true,” charges Local President Jim Yakubowski, who notes that under the city’s proposal, what is “predicted” today is not guaranteed tomorrow if the retirement plan does not reach its intended financial position.
“In other words,” Yakubowski warns, that under the contract proposal, “if the money is not there to maintain the benefits promised or ‘predicted’ as the city manager puts it, the city would no longer be legally liable for any shortfalls and members alone would need to increase contributions or cut benefits.”
Meanwhile Saskatoon city managers and the transit director recently received salary increases, while bus operators, mechanics, and customer service representatives are being denied a fair contract.
At the crux of the dispute is retirement security and wages. The current pay scale is so low that many transit workers qualify for affordable housing public assistance, and the city’s latest offer would have left Saskatoon transit workers at the bottom of the pay scale in the province.
In a letter Yakubowski urged transit workers to contact their benefit office to ask if the city will remain legally responsible for any shortfalls in funding under their replacement retirement plan.”
“If they’re honest,” Yakubowski asserts, “their answer will show that the city’s letter was a sham intended to pressure transit workers into accepting changes in their plan that will deny them a defined retirement security.”