Retiree Chair Report By Fred Dougan January 2017
Happy New Year to everybody! I hope all of you had a great Christmas as well.
Hopefully, this will be a great year ahead. We are working on getting the Recreation Committee off the ground. I hope it will work. We will see. Next month Gordon Graham from ASR Trust is coming to our membership meeting, so be ready to ask him some questions about our benefits.
We, as an Executive Board, are going to talk soon about the things we see wrong with the running of the ASR Board involving the retired UNIFOR staff representatives who have been appointed to it. They are receiving $27,635.00 a year as well as $774.00 for each meeting and $774.00 even if there is a phone meeting for one hour as well. The $27,635.00 along with the $774.00 are indexed with COLA. So these amounts go up each year. Reportedly, there are three (3) retired UNIFOR staff representatives on the ASR Board. This looks like it cannot pass the smell test. I say this especially because we have a lot of retirees on pension who are not getting half of the $27,635.00 amount in addition to the $774.00 per meeting. These staff representatives retired with very good pensions. As a result, we are going to have discussions on this before Gordon Graham comes to next month’s meeting and then ask all about these board members. We could go from there to the March15, 2017 and make a motion to send a letter to UNIFOR National President, Jerry Dias. But I think we should hear from Gordon Graham first to see if there is any more to this story. One has to put the fork in first in order to be able get the real smell of something.
I also have heard that there are workers currently in the plant who are retiring and still talking about taking the commuted value of their pension. This is even after the union negotiated full funding of our pensions by 2020. I have also heard that insurance companies like London Life are saying that their pension fund is at 210%. Somehow we must get workers turned around on this issue and convince them to stay in the GM pension plan instead of taking the commuted value. These workers do not trust GM. They think that GM could go bankrupt again. In other words, I think workers in the plant need a wake-up call. They need to understand that this choice is not good for them. These workers risk their future because they could run out of money and past experience tells you that this is what happens to a lot of workers when they get the commuted value of their pensions.
In closing, I would like to thank Laurette and the people who helped her for the great job they did with the “Christmas Dinner” on December 21, 2016.