College pension board benefit cuts regrettable

BCGEU will explore all options to try to regain benefits for members.

Darryl Walker, BCGEU presidentVancouver (27 Jan. 2009) - The decision by B.C.'s College Pension Board of Trustees to stop subsidizing extended health benefits for retired instructors is regrettable and underscores the need to find new ways to fund these benefits, says the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE).

"We understand that these benefits were never guaranteed in perpetuity and that the board must first protect workers' pensions and cost of living adjustments," says BCGEU president Darryl Walker. The recent economic downturn has placed pressure on all investment income funds and the union will need to be more creative in our effort to protect our members' interests."

While the decision places the fund on a more sustainable footing and conforms with federal legislation that caps contribution rates, the union is exploring options to regain the extended health benefits for retired members.

"The BCGEU is prepared to work with employers to negotiate funding options to reinstate these benefits," says Walker. "It is in everyone's interest to ensure that plan members have access to needed health services upon retirement, and we will explore every opportunity within the legislative framework to make this happen."