There has been a lot of questions around what this lock out is about here in Regina. Let me try to explain it to you.
First off you need to understand that their pension is different than ours. Their pension is in their CA. They have negotiated this pension since the early 70’s.The reason this distinction is so important is that this is something they sacrificed for over the past rounds of negotiations to ensure the share of profits they got from their labour went into protecting their future. They took less money and they took less gains in other areas to ensure their deferred wages was there for them in the future.
Ours is not something we negotiate. It is solely controlled by Shell.
Their pension was fully funded by the company and was indexed for cost of living as well as it was a 2% multiplier. Meaning if you worked 30 years you would multiply that by the 2 and receive 60 percent of what you were making as your pension.
In 2016 their management came after their pension. They forced the Union to concede to a DC plan for all new hires from then on. Management told them if they did this that all people presently on the DB pension would be left alone and allowed to retire on that pension.
Fast forward to now and you have management at the table going after the DB pension again. Don’t get caught up into the fact that they only want to change it to a 1.75% factor as opposed to a 2%. The rhetoric that it just the “Industry Standard” is something they want you to believe so you will not rally to protect these folks. They want you to buy into it and be part of the race to the bottom. We should not be thinking they should be tore down and get what we get……no. we should be supporting them and then demanding we reap that same benefit as well.
Another attack is now the company wants to take away the fact they were fully funding this pension and now make the worker fund this pension to a tune of 11%. This is a huge concession. If you recall the National was only 11.75% over 4 years. In year 1 of the contract without any other concession these guys have to pay back 11.25% just to keep what they have.
Now take away the indexing so there is no cost of living anymore and you can easily see that the whole wage increase they are going to get is gone just to keep the pension they were told would be left alone.
The company also wants to wrap up the savings plan that they have been supplying as part of the workers total compensation package. The plan could allow up to 6.5% company contribution if the worker put 10% into this fund.
Another 6.5% gone.
So when you add this up the workers at the Co-op refinery will take a 17 plus % decrease to their compensation in year 1 alone. All while the company is making 3 million dollars a day.
This is a fight against greed. This is a fight against these billionaires and their perception that they are more powerful than us the collective. We have to win this fight as you can rest assured that other corporations will by anxiously watching and waiting to see if they too will be able to oppress us the next round.
Local 594 gets it. Our National Union leadership gets it and that is why they are making the stand here in Regina. This is why I am here. Don’t kid yourself, this is our fight it just happens that it is being fought here in Regina!
President Unifor local 848