Retiree Report May

Retiree Chairperson’s Report– May 17th , 2017

It is getting warmer and it feels good despite all the rain we recently had. Things are going good at the Retirees Cente and the Local union as well.

I attended the “Ontario Retired Workers Council”, May 2nd, 2017 at UNIFOR Local 88 in Ingersoll, Ontario.  At the council, I talked about the commuted pensions and mentioned that President, Greg Brady of Local 199 told us at our “Retired Workers Chapter” meeting in April that three (3) GM workers, who had taken the commuted pension were already broke.  These members had used their commuted pension money like a piggy bank and now it is all gone.

These members will have nothing to look forward to but CPP and Old Age Security.  Given how little money that is, these members will likely work until they die.  That is NOT what we negotiated pensions for. Pensions were fought for and negotiated in order to avoid having to work until you die.

I also spoke at the “Ontario Retired Workers Council” about ways to make it easy to collect the union dues from those who are in retirement and how to use the “Health Care Trust” to collect those union dues.  Dean Lindsay, of the National Union, said they are going to talk about this at the GM Council when they meet later this month.  Hopefully, this can be worked out for future retired workers and hopefully the leadership at GM will make a concerted effort to discourage our active members from making the mistake of taking commuted pensions.

Like Lazarus, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is back from the dead. Yes.  It is raising its ugly head again.  Absent the United States, all of the other countries which were going to be part of the TPP have been negotiating the agreement again to make it work without the United States.  These negotiations for a revived TPP have been taking place in secret in a hotel in downtown Toronto courtesy of our federal government which is failing us.  This should mean that we soon will be waging another fight over the Trans Pacific Partnership.

I am waiting to see what the “Canadian Labour Congress” and our National Union have in the works in terms of a strategy to stop it.  So far, all I have heard is dead silence.  That is unacceptable.  They better come up with a major campaign against the revived TPP very quickly. Otherwise, working people in this country are in for a nightmare far worse than anything we have seen so far.  Also, if the TPP gets done, the corporations in the United States can be expected to put tremendous pressure on Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress to reverse Trump’s position on this so-called trade agreement and become part of it.

We must stop it!

Fred Dougan