Westminster Savings Credit Union – Bargaining Update

October 27, 2017

To MoveUP Members at Westminster Savings Credit Union

Your bargaining committee met with your employer on October 20, 2007 to continue negotiations. This meeting was the seventh time we have sat down to bargain with Westminster Savings Credit Union. Our main point of contention remains the employer’s proposal to switch from a Defined Benefit (DB) pension plan to a Defined Contribution (DC) pension plan.

This switch is asking for significant concessions and affects your ability to maximize your long-term financial stability and security.

Under the existing DB plan:

  • Your employer is 100% responsible for funding the plan – it is part of your wage package
  • You will receive a fixed monthly pension for as long as you live
  • Your retirement income is not exposed to the type of market risks as a DC plan
  • The management fees of this pension fund are significantly less than a DC plan

Your DB plan also contains language protecting you in the event of long-term disability. In the event of a long-term disability that prevents you from returning to work, your existing plan allows for continued employment and pension contributions from your employer.

Under the employer’s proposed DC plan:

  • Employees will see a pay cut due to mandatory contributions they must make
  • Westminster Savings will reduce their contribution amount that is currently 11.4% of an employee’s gross earnings to as little as 4%
  • Westminster Savings will be saving millions of dollars that will not be applied to other forms of remuneration to employees
  • The ability to grow funds invested in a DC plan is significantly more difficult
  • Management commissions on a DC plan erode the ability to grow the fund aside from making additional contributions

In their most recent proposal, the employer has proposed to two-tier the pension plan provisions in the workplace. This would allow existing employees to remain in the DB plan, while all employees hired after July 1, 2018 would go into the DC Plan.

This is a cause for concern for two reasons.

  1. This deliberately and immediately causes a divide among the employee base between those with a much more lucrative pension versus a less appealing one. This is a tactic used to pit worker against worker and weaken your union collective agreement
  2. This puts the DB pension plan at risk. As turnover occurs and new employees begin to outnumber those hired before July 1, 2018, the employer has more leverage to terminate the DB pension plan.

MoveUP has arranged for an independent pension expert from WE Consulting Services who can outline the differences between the two plans.

This information meeting will take place on Thursday, November 2 at 6:00 pm at the POCO Inn & Suites. A bulletin with the details of this meeting will be sent out separately. Please make every effort to attend this very important session.

By going after your pension plan, your employer is going after your future financial stability and security. The effect may not be immediately felt but it will have significant repercussions on you, your family, and your fellow members as well as non-union members from other branches. But what is most frustrating is that these changes are not necessary. Westminster Savings has never indicated that they had any concerns with the viability of maintaining the DB pension plan and confirmed that the DB pension plan is not in trouble in any way. They have not provided a valid business case to take away your pension rights or to bring in a newer lesser pension system for future employees.

We remain committed to the negotiation process and working out an agreement that serves our members’ best interest.

In solidarity,

Your Bargaining Committee:
Jana Barton, Job Steward
Christine Scarlett, Job Steward
Trevor Hansen, Union Representative

File Number: S:BARG/WSCU
Union Label: TH:sl-usw2009


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