To All TEAM Members:
This communiqué contains important information about your pension plan and the upcoming vote on the Company’s last offer.
Over the last two weeks almost half the TEAM membership attended informational meetings held in Brandon and at various locations in Winnipeg. The meetings focused on issues identified in some thirty or so earlier small group meetings. The issues discussed included wage settlements, the Company’s DC pension plan proposal, and the implications of a “yes” vote, amongst other things. At the downtown Winnipeg meetings Mr. Louis Ellement, the former Actuary for the CSSA from Ellement and Ellement, and Mr. Kris Saxberg, our pension lawyer from D'Arcy & Deacon, were in attendance. Attached is the PowerPoint used during the meetings, with some recent modifications to address memos sent to you by the Company.
It is unfortunate that more of the TEAM membership was unable to hear first hand from our guests how the introduction of a DC pension plan (and a very poor one at that) will impact your DB pension plan. Their answers and explanations confirmed that there are indeed certain aspects of the MTS pension plan that are protected by law, however, it was also confirmed that there are some very important aspects of your pension plan, such as, indexing, future improvements, and even the pension calculation for future earnings, where there is no protection at law. The introduction of a DC prior to the conclusion of the pension lawsuit increases the likelihood that these important aspects will be changed to your detriment, and if not by today’s management, then by the future management who have not asked that you trust them to look after your best interests.
On September 19, 2007 the Company abruptly tabled a final offer that included the DC pension plan. Your bargaining committee suspects that it is no coincidence that the Company did this just weeks before the pension lawsuit trial begins on November 13, 2007. By railroading the DC through, before justice has been given a fair chance, the Company will avoid having to work with employee and retiree representatives on the introduction of a future DC. On the successful conclusion of the lawsuit, your representatives on the pension committee will have the power to ensure that adequate protections for your pension plan are in place before a DC can be implemented. (Prior to the MTS privatization, employee representatives had this power, but the Company took it away when they designed the new pension plan. The restoration of this power/control (governance) is a significant part of the pension lawsuit.)
The tying of the Company’s DC to our Collective Agreement, when there is no connection, not even if it is voted in, is in no uncertain terms unfair, and an unashamed attempt at manipulation of TEAM members to achieve the Company’s goal. Although the Company’s DC plan has been a major topic of conversation over the past month, we would ask that you don’t lose sight of the many other reasons the Company’s offer is deficient.
Your bargaining committee asks that you vote “No” to the Company’s last offer, encourage your colleagues to do the same; allowing the legal process to be concluded before a DC is discussed further, and to get your bargaining committee back to the negotiation table.
Thank you for your support,
Your TEAM Bargaining Committee
Bob Linsdell Chief Negotiator
Larry Trach Business Manager
Misty Hughes-Newman TEAM President (Network Services)
Jamie Barbour Treasurer (Finance)
Louie Haklar 1st Vice President (BT&IT)
Ed Maxwell Board Member (Regions)
Pat Basarowich Board Member (Regional Operations)
Brian Lawson IFPTE National Counsel