NEWS

March 22, 2018

Public Service Pension Plan Update - BCGEU

Dear BCGEU Public Sector Pension Plan Member,

We understand that the recently announced changes to the Public Sector Pension Plan (PSPP) design have generated a lot of concerns. Many have indicated to us the communication from the Pension Corporation left them wondering how the plan impacted them, which has created anxiety and confusion. In this environment, serious misinformation has circulated that misrepresents the plan changes, especially on the @work site.

The only way to determine exactly how these changes impact you as an individual will be to wait for the pension plan calculator. Respectfully, please do not try to calculate changes for yourself. We are urging Pension Corp to advance the timeline on the pension calculator, and add a comparator to the old rules, which will show the specific improvement.

Because several of the plan design changes work differently for service after April 1, 2018, there is some confusion about the Bridge, the Rule of 85, and if the changes will impact your ability to retire. We hope to explain broadly how the changes work, why they occurred, and to correct some of the speculation happening amidst the confusion.

The vast majority of plan members will see a great improvement in their pension, but each member's specific situation is unique.

For the average BCGEU member, the value of the pension will increase substantially.

The average age of retirement in the plan is over 60. Approximately 59% of BCGEU plan members earn under the YMPE ($55,900 in 2018). The majority of members retiring both above and below age 60 will still be able to retire with a higher lifetime pension based on the new rules. Further, for an average BCGEU member, even one wanting to retire at 55, if you are able to retire in the next few years, your lifetime pension will be significantly bigger.

Similar rules have already been adopted by the College and Teachers Pensions Plans

Both of these large public sector plans have moved to a flat rate of accrual on future service, and have eliminated the rule of 85 and bridge on future service. This is a trend because moving to a flat rate of accrual modernizes the plan and makes it more equitable. This provides a superior lifetime benefit.

The new rules apply to future service (after April 1, 2018) only.

That means if you have accumulated 20 years of service prior to April 1, 2018, you will get a bridge benefit when you retire, based on those 20 years of service. If you retire before you turn 60, the reduction factor of 3% for each year between 55 and 60 will apply to those 20 years. The old rules apply to old service and the new rules only apply to new service.

On Future Service, your pension's potential value will be much larger.

In practical terms, on service after April 1, 2018, the value of a lifetime pension for someone making $55,900 or less (under the YMPE) will be approximately 37% more. That number slightly reduces the more you make over the YMPE. For example, someone making $84,000 will receive approximately 18%* more on their lifetime pension.

We have guaranteed a retroactive increase to the value of your pension back to 2006.

This increases your accrual below the YMPE from 1.35% to 1.65% retroactively between April 1, 2006 and March 31, 2018. For the average BCGEU member retiring in the next decade, this will represent a greater than 12% increase in the value of their lifetime pension.

The large majority of BCGEU members, including those retiring before the age of 60, will be able to retire at the same age with a higher lifetime pension.

The new rules provide for a larger lifetime pension for members. What this means practically is that, in the majority of cases, members retiring under the age of 60 have a larger lifetime pension than they would have under the old rules.

The new plan design minimizes the subsidy from those who can't afford to retire, and makes the plan more fair.

The new early retirement reduction factor of 6.2% is benefit neutral – which means it is approximately the value of the benefit one gets from early retirement. This change in the new rules makes the plan more equitable. On future service, it means those retiring early will pay their fair share.

Plan changes were requested by the Board on a tight timeline.

Some of you are concerned with the lack of communication prior to implementation of the plan changes. We want to assure everyone this was not by design, and we are committed to identifying gaps in communication from Pension Corporation and working with them, and independently, on a go-forward basis.

We were unable to conduct consultation prior to implementation due to a tight timeline. Faced with the potential of the Board making changes to plan design without input from us or the government, we opted to move quickly. We consulted with senior elected leadership and came to an agreement with government that secured the best outcome possible. The fact we achieved a significant retroactive benefit increase on service back to 2006 – even for members who have already retired – shows a high degree of success in this regard.

For further questions, please contact the BC Pension Corporation.

You can reach them at 1-800-665-3554.

 

*please note the following correction was made to the original posting, updating the percentage rate to 18% for this example

UWU/MoveUP

March 22, 2018

BCGEU calls for labour code amendments to ensure balance and fairness for wor...

 

The BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) has submitted multiple recommendations to a panel of special advisors currently reviewing British Columbia's Labour Relations Code. The submission calls for changes that properly reflect the needs and interests of workers in B.C.'s modern economy.

The BCGEU's submission is based on three themes:

1. That workers be entitled to make their own internal decision to unionize without employer pressure;

2. That workers be entitled to fairness, timeliness and finality when it comes to labour decisions; and

3. That the labour code be responsive to the erosion of workers' rights in the modern economy due to more precarious, part-time, contract and contingent employment.

"The labour code is a significant piece of legislation that informs both how B.C.'s workers organize to join unions, and how unionized workers and their employers interact," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "This review is a good first step in the process of restoring fairness to both the labour code, and the BC Labour Relations Board."

The labour code review panel is holding public hearings in 10 B.C. communities from now through mid-April, and the panel will report its findings and recommendations back to Labour Minister Harry Bains by August. The labour code has not been reviewed or amended in 15 years.

 

To read BCGEU's submission click here.

 

 



UWU/MoveUP

March 21, 2018

BCGEU recognizes International Day of Forests - March 21 - BCGEU

Our natural forests are an important part of British Columbia's environment, economy and social fabric. More than a third of our planet's land mass is covered by forests, which absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen into our atmosphere. 

According to the United Nations, "forests are the most biologically diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80 per cent of the terrestrial species of animals, planets and insects."

Deforestation across the globe accounts for 12 to 20 per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. 

A healthy, productive forest base plays a key part in British Columbia's natural economy and plays a large role in meeting our provincial climate change targets.

The UN proclaimed March 21 as International Day of Forests, "to raise awareness of the importance of forests to people and their vital role in poverty eradication, environmental sustainability and food security. Sustainable management of all types of forests are at the heart of unlocking challenges of conflict-affected, developing and developed countries, for the benefit of current and future generations."

The BCGEU invites all our members and the public to join us in recognizing and celebrating the 6th annual International Day of Forests on March 21.

• Click here for more information.

http://www.un.org/en/events/forestsday/ 

 



UWU/MoveUP

March 16, 2018

BCGEU Members size up B.C.'s worst summer of natural disasters

For many people across the province the summer of 2017 was one of angst, uncertainty, and demanding work load due to extreme wildfires and floods.

BCGEU members were front and centre in containment and rescue efforts delivered through key agencies like the B.C. Wildfire Service and Emergency Management B.C. Others across the public service took on significant roles in management, administration, communications, volunteer coordination and emergency services. Many dedicated themselves to helping vulnerable citizens and clients in their roles in community social services, seniors' care, and provincial health services.

When the B.C. government decided to undertake a significant review of the provincial wildfire and flood response earlier this year, the BCGEU initiated a wide consultation of members to document the various ways they had been affected by the unprecedented fire and flood season.

The BCGEU offers a sincere thank you to the many dedicated members who took part in its consultation and engagement efforts. This information will help to better prepare the province for future extreme wildfires and floods—a concerning “new normal” for the province.

The union has officially submitted the cumulative findings of this outreach in a submission to the B.C. government. The report is based on the direct experience of those who lived and worked on the front lines of the floods and wildfires and will be a useful resource for future disaster relief and planning efforts.

You can read the full report below:

 

 

 

March 16, 2018

Updated information on improvements to your Public Sector Pension Plan (PSPP)...

Today the Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP) Board of Trustees has announced a landmark change to the plan design of the PSPP. The BCGEU has a long history of negotiating and advocating for pensions for our members in all sectors. Over the last few years, the BCGEU, as the Plan Partner representative for the PSPP, has engaged the Government Partner on potential plan design improvements. It has been our intent to enhance benefits while increasing equity within the plan, thereby improving its design for the benefit of plan members.

We are very proud to report to members of the PSPP that we have been successful in achieving design changes that will significantly increase lifetime pensions for the vast majority of our members. Members with pensionable service (you were working and contributing to the PSPP between April 1, 2006 and March 31, 2018) will see a lift in their future lifetime pension based on earnings below the yearly maximum pensionable earning (YMPE - $55,900 in 2018). The calculation for those years will be 22.2% higher-a rate of 1.65% rather than the current 1.35%. 

After April 1, 2018, the calculation for all earnings will be set at 1.85%. For those with maximum earnings below the YMPE, this represents a 37% increase to their lifetime pension benefit calculation for each year of future service going forward. 

Existing rights, such as past service earned-which applies to current early retirement options such as the rule of 85-are vested and you will retain those entitlements when you eventually retire. Following the changes, members with 35 years of contributory service will still be able to retire as early as age 55 without any reduction in those benefits. Service after the effective date (April 1, 2018) will be calculated at the new flat rate of 1.85%. When you retire, your pension will be a combination of the three formulas. 

These changes will not immediately apply to Corrections officers, due to their public safety designation and the need to consider their earlier retirement options. The BCGEU is actively consulting with the Pension Corporation on specifics regarding changes in plan design for this group.

The move to a flat rate of accrual, combined with the retroactive improvement to the below-YMPE accrual from 2006, represents a substantial improvement over the existing plan design. It is also not without precedent: the Teachers and College plans have already moved to a flat rate of accrual, although without the retroactive provision we have secured for the Public Service plan members. 

We encourage you to go to the PSPP website link at www.pspp.pensionsbc.ca for details and further information that is available now. Should you have any questions we encourage you to contact the administrator at 1-800-665-3554.



UWU/MoveUP

March 15, 2018

BCGEU calls on government to guarantee protections for vulnerable seniors.

Over the last year the BCGEU and other organizations have raised questions about the sale of B.C.-based Retirement Concepts to the international conglomerate, Anbang Insurance Group Co., Ltd. – a Chinese-based investor with expansive international holdings. 

Retirement Concepts currently operates 21 care homes in B.C., with over two and a half thousand workers which are represented by both the Health Employees' Union (HEU) and the BCGEU.

In their decision to allow the sale in late-2016, the federal Liberal government dismissed significant public concerns over regulation and accountability issues that would result from combining private delivery of health services with foreign ownership. 

The Chinese government recently announced that they are taking control of Anbang due to insolvency, and alleged corruption, and fraud. This renews and significantly heightens the concern that sensitive assets like Retirement Concepts-including its residents and workers-could be exposed to cuts, operational restructuring, or even liquidation and sale to a third party.

"We strongly believe that patients and workers deserve stability in their homes and workplaces. The federal and provincial governments need to step in so that Retirement Concepts, including its vulnerable residents and dedicated workers are not jeopardized," said BCGEU President Stephanie Smith.

The government must use its authority to protect the delivery of care across these publicly funded facilities. The BCGEU encourages Minister of Health Adrian Dix to act decisively to protect vulnerable seniors before they are adversely affected.

The HEU has recommended a three-point plan to safeguard resident care at Retirement Concepts and ensure protections for workers:

1. Implement expanded staffing and financial audits at Retirement Concepts facilities.

As the Chinese government moves to rein in debt related to Anbang's global assets, it would be prudent to more closely monitor the impact on Retirement Concepts' operations in B.C. including on staffing, planned facilities maintenance and equipment replacement.

2. Implement a moratorium on contracting out in the broader residential care sector.

If Anbang seeks to dispose of its care home assets in B.C., the government must be prepared to act to protect continuity of care at Retirement Concepts sites. A moratorium on contracting out and contract flips would ensure that care relationships won't be disrupted by pre-sale layoffs of staff.

3. Investigate the business case for purchasing Anbang's assets.

Anbang's care home assets in B.C. represent a considerable investment in seniors' care by B.C. taxpayers. The government must consider all options for ensuring that stable, seamless care can continue to be provided at Retirement Concepts' sites including the purchase and operations of these sites should they become available.[1]

"We need to be looking at the most effective tools for protecting health workers and the delivery of care. The HEU's recommendations are an excellent starting point for the government to consider. This would give needed assurance to families, patients, and care home workers that they are being looked after," noted Smith.

BCGEU represents more than 850 workers at nine sites operated by Retirement Concepts throughout B.C. with worker classifications that include residential care aides, home support workers, recreational assistants and support services workers.

______________________________________________________________________________________
[1] Province urged to adopt action plan to protect care as Chinese government regulator takes control of Retirement Concepts, HEU | Retrieved from https://www.heu.org/news-media/newsletters/publications/province-urged-adopt-action-plan-protect-care-chinese-government-regulator-takes


UWU/MoveUP

March 13, 2018

Warehouse Positions Available! - BCGEU

Warehouse Positions

Available!

 

The Distribution Centres, located in both Vancouver and Kamloops, have entry-level auxiliary opportunities in Shipping, Receiving, Assembly and Inventory Control.

We are accepting applications for additional auxiliary warehouse positions in our fast paced distribution center located in Vancouver. Please note in the summer of 2018 we expect to move our distribution center to 7003 72nd Street, Delta. Shift work is required including night shift.

ENTRY LEVEL QUALIFICATION FOR WAREHOUSE WORKERS; 

For exciting and challenging auxiliary opportunities, please submit your cover letter and resume

  • Be at least 19 years of age
  • Be able to legally work in Canada
  • Be able to provide excellent customer service
  • Be in good physical condition
  • Be able to identify sequences of numbers (essential)
  • Be able to lift cases to various heights while assembling orders for our retail stores (core component of the position and is in accordance with WCB regulations)
  • Experience in warehouse work or other physical labour is
  • Auxiliary positions are on-call, which means that hours of work are not guaranteed and will be subject to availability. You may or may not work full 35 hour weeks. As you work more hours, you'll gain more seniority, allowing more opportunities for more hours of work.
  • Rate of Pay: $17.8165 per hour.

 

To apply, please visit;

 https://bcliquorstores.prevueaps.ca/pages/distributionopenings/

 



UWU/MoveUP

March 12, 2018

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Member Engagement For...

The BCGEU has been granted standing at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) allowing it to make a formal written submission to the public inquiry as an organization.

BCGEU members from across the province have valuable front-line knowledge and experience to contribute through their role in delivering services and supports for vulnerable Indigenous children, women and communities. Our intention is to bring the perspective of members directly to the Inquiry.

To prepare the formal submission, there will be three member engagement forums taking place in Victoria March 22-24, Prince George April 12-14 and Vancouver April 26-28.

At the forums, members from various components of the union will be working together to identify systemic barriers and issues faced by Indigenous women and girls, including policies, procedures and the ability to access services.

To express your interest in attending a BCGEU member consultation forum in Victoria, Prince George or Vancouver, please complete this online member's survey . For questions or to register for the BCGEU member consultation forums in your area, please contact Susan Howatt at Member.MMIWG@bcgeu.ca or by phone at 604-291-9611 or toll free at 1-800-663-1674.

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls will be holding community hearings in Vancouver from April 4-8 to hear from Indigenous women, girls, and LGBTQ2S people from families of the heart who have lost a loved one and/or from survivors of violence.

If you would like to share your story with the National Inquiry as an individual, you can register for the hearings by emailing profile@mmiwg-ffada.ca or by calling 1-844-348-4119. Unfortunately, there is currently a delay in response from the Inquiry staff of at least one week.

To learn more about the National Inquiry community hearings and Truth Gathering process, you can visit their website: www.mmiwg-ffada.ca

National Inquiry Factsheet- How to Participate

National Inquiry Factsheet- Costs that May be Covered to Attend a National Hearing

The community hearings in Vancouver from April 4-8 are part of the national hearings that are organized by the National Inquiry and are not affiliated with the BCGEU member consultation forums.



UWU/MoveUP

March 12, 2018

Social Work Week 2018 - BCGEU

March 11th – 17th is Social Work Week in B.C.

This week the vital role of social workers is in focus as we celebrate Social Work Week in B.C. Social workers in the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) assist more than 150 000 children, youth and families each year.

"In addition to their important and demanding work, social workers have been tireless advocates for system-wide improvements in recent years," said Judy Fox-McGuire, BCGEU vice president for social, information and health (Component 6). "While the new government has made a significant and promising reinvestment in child welfare, those working in frontline positions still face significant challenges with staffing retention, caseload burdens, and workplace safety."

"The BCGEU understands that the ministry is continuing to hire new workers and expand total staff. We're watching closely to make sure they get the leadership and support they need from management, and that the successful retention of this new staff leads to improvements for all dedicated workers on the frontlines."

"Social work plays a crucial role in our society, not only for individuals, but often entire families and communities," said BCGEU President Stephanie Smith. "As we reflect on the hard work and commitment of our social workers this week, the BCGEU will continue on in its efforts to ensure their needs are met in the workplace."

"This is about providing adequate resources for those who are on the frontlines protecting individuals and families and allowing our most vulnerable citizens access the services they need," said Fox-McGuire. "We will continue to seek feedback from our members as the new resources come in."

The BCGEU is the lead union in B.C. representing social workers, including in regional health authorities, the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, across the Community Social Services sector, and in MCFD.

 

 

 

 

 



UWU/MoveUP