To the Meeting of the CRA Executive Committee April 13, 2016
Since the last meeting of the Executive on September 15th 2015, CSU and COPE have signed new collective agreements. The CSU agreement includes language to commit the Parties to continue trying to resolve the issue of indexing. We were disappointed that the issue was not resolved during this round of bargaining. Every year there is no resolution, CUPE retirees’ purchasing power shrinks. We will continue to keep up the pressure for a resolution on cost of living adjustments for our Plan. The current contract expired December 2015, so the long road to a settlement is underway.
The CRA sent a team of retirees to the CUPE National Convention in Vancouver in November 2015. The team, Barry Thorsteinson, Blair Redlin and Jane Stinson, worked together to continue the discussion on indexing our Plan and distributed CRA buttons “Index Pensions Now” to retirees and active members, and the response was very positive. Our request to have a spot in the Gallery was refused by CUPE. As a result, our plans for a portable booth were cancelled. We were advised that the Gallery was more for members’ displays, but we were offered alternate assistance, so it was not totally negative.
In December, CSU President Sylvia Sioufi invited me, as CRA President, to bring greetings to the first meeting of the newly elected CSU Executive. I indicated that our priority issues were indexing and benefits, and that we were prepared to work together with all the parties to promote our goals. I am optimistic about better communications with this new CSU Executive.
The project to document the history of retired women staff in CUPE continues. Some interviews were done during the National Convention. We hope to collect more interviews in the coming months.
The activism of the Chapter Reps continues to be a concern. Our efforts to set up conference calls, to seek feedback on the indexing fact sheet, and to engage the Chapter Reps has been disappointing, with only one or two responses to our efforts. We hope that Chapter Reps will again take advantage of the CRA Expense policy to get retirees in their regions together, around Division Conventions is one possibility, but not the only one.
New privacy regulations mean that CUPE will no longer send us the addresses of retirees unless they have signed a CRA membership form. This will restrict our ability to communicate with all CUPE retirees as we have in the past. For example, the Fact Sheet prepared on indexing last March, was sent to all retirees, not just CRA members. We may wish to consider contacting the Employer regarding follow up on membership forms, or request that CUPE maintain retirees’ CUPE emails for 6 months after retirement, which would enable the CRA to do membership follow-up.
In the coming weeks, we will start the process to elect a new CRA Executive. Letters will be mailed to all CRA members inviting nominations. The objective is to have a new CRA Executive in place by the Fall, when the current Executive’s terms expire. I must say it has been a privilege and a joy to work with such a team of committed colleagues during my term.
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