To the Meeting of the CRA Executive Committee September 25, 2015
Since the last meeting of the Executive in May 2015, the Executive has continued to work together on a number of initiatives that I feel, advanced the work and profile of the CRA.
It was great to see Retiree get-togethers at the Ontario Division Convention, organized by Brian McCormack. And another well attended gathering in BC, organized by Blair Redlin. Both were funded through the new CRA Expense Guidelines for Chapter Reps. Reports came back from both gatherings that members welcome the increased communications and the analysis provided by the CRA. In fact, there were recommendations for continued activism – one particular suggestion was for the CRA to communicate to the Negotiating Parties the urgency of a resolution to cost of living adjustments.
Accordingly, in August the CRA wrote to all the Parties to advocate for permanent cost of living increases to be an integral part of the CEPP, but strongly urged the parties to consider the impact of declining spending power on existing retirees and their families, and ensure the contract settlements include some immediate relief. The letter was sent to all Negotiating Parties, as well as all retirees. To date there has been no acknowledgement from the Parties, except the CDU. We have received many supportive comments from Retirees.
The latest Employer is a one-time lump sum payment of $750 only to retirees, and surviving spouses, over the age of 65. Inadequate and divisive. Further, the Employer wants CSU to withdraw all of its pension proposals. This is not the only issue in dispute. The CSU is currently taking a strike vote. I will be talking with the Executive Committee about next steps.
I am increasingly concerned by the lack of involvement by Chapter Reps. Too many times we send out emails asking for comments, or seeking input and seldom get replies. Efforts to engage them in the discussion on the fact sheet on indexing were ignored by most. We got more input and comments from retiree members than we did from the Executive Board! Since one of our goals is to be a more activist Association, I think we may want to consider initiating a discussion of other options to our current structure.
After considerable discussion with colleagues, research and reflection, I have had to reconsider my commitment to write a Fact Sheet on the relative benefit of the “bridging vs indexing”, as discussed at the last meeting. I have found that the research part may well require the work of an actuary, something the CRA could consider funding. I plan to bring a proposal to this meeting in this regard.
I was pleased to be able to bring CRA greetings and present a membership form to Carole Lefebvre at her retirement celebration in Ottawa, in September.
Assuming the National Convention goes ahead, I propose the Executive discuss a more active role for the CRA at the National Convention, that includes a ‘team’ of CRA representatives, display space and a portable, professional looking branding for the display space.
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