Retiree Chairperson’s Report – September 2018
Well, we have had a hot summer and things at the Retiree Centre have been going good throughout the summer with golf every Friday and lots of hot dogs. I would like to thank those retirees who worked on Fridays during July and August and at other times. On Labour Day the retirees who were at the bar did a great job as usual. There were a lot people who showed up for the day.
The annual National Retired Workers Conference was held at Port Elgin, Ontario from September 2 – 7, 2018. There were many resolutions passed which are very important to us as retirees. #19 and #20 on PCOLA were passed. #21 on the benefits shortfall affecting General Motors retired workers was also passed. These three resolutions passed with 100% support. Resolution #23 on Unifor’s split with the Canadian Labour Congress Pass was passed on the basis of non-concurrence meaning it did not become policy.
I signed a letter to Jerry Dias that 15 other Retired Chapter Chairpersons also signed addressing what needs to happen in 2020 at the negotiating table. The point we made is that retirees need and deserve a piece of the pie in the form of PCOLA or some form of replacement of it under another name. Money is money. The name will not matter.
Resolution # 39 from Unifor Local 444 on protecting pensions in bankruptcy situations was also passed and demanded that the provincial and federal governments take action to make retirees whole when a bankruptcy occurs. Another good resolution was #40. It was on making it mandatory that all pensions are indexed with a COLA.
At the Sunday night meeting Secretary/Treasurer Bob Orr was there. So I talked to him about PCOLA on pensions as well and made it clear to him that retirees’ real incomes are falling more and more behind because they do not keep pace with inflation. The point I am making is that anytime I can get access too top leadership, I will tell them in no uncertain terms that we need our PCOLA back or something similar. I will hammer away at this till either we get results or I am dead.
Elsewhere, we have a real nightmare on our hands with the new provincial government led by Doug Ford. Faced with the attacks that are already coming this is no time to sit back and do nothing and it is no time for the labour movement to be divided and weakened by that division. The same is true with respect to facing the trade policies of Donald Trump and the renegotiation of NAFTA. NAFTA was terrible for workers in this country and things will get a lot worse if Trump gets his way. We need to get organized to face these challenges.
Chairperson, Retiree Chapter, Unifor Local 199