"We have no interest in a system that provides reasonable retirement security for some but doesn't for the majority of Canadians."
Charlottetown (3 June 2010) - The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) will hold an important meeting on the future of pensions June 13-14 in Charlottetown.
The meeting will take place at the same time that federal, provincial and territorial finance ministers will be meeting at the Crowbush resort in Morell to discuss reform of Canada's pensions system.
The meeting will provide NUPGE with an opportunity to educate activists from across the country about the retirement security crisis Canada is facing and the viable policy options being promoted by the labour movement to help solve the crisis. Plans are for NUPGE activists to also use the occasion to hold a rally and lobby the finance ministers on importance of expanding Canada's public pension system, especially the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), as the best option to guarantee retirement security for all Canadians.
"The majority of our members, although certainly not all, have decent pensions," notes Larry Brown, NUPGE's national secretary-treasurer. "We have no interest in a system that provides reasonable retirement security for some but doesn't do so for the majority of Canadians.
"Rather than lowering the bar for those who have good workplace pensions, as some advocate, we want to raise the bar to provide pension protection and retirement security for all Canadians," Brown says.
"We believe expanding CPP is the best way to do this. CPP is well regarded internationally for its design but is widely considered inadequate because of the low level of benefits it pays to Canadians. We need to make CPP more effective. It would be easy to double the benefits as the labour movement is proposing, while retaining the strength of this universal system."
NUPGE's Island component, the P.E.I. Union of Public Sector Employees (PEIUPSE/NUPGE), is encouraging its activists to attend the NUPGE meeting.
"As PEIUPSE activists, we ask that you join us June 13-14 to show Islanders that we care about the future of our retirees and that something needs to be done to divert the poverty which our social programs are creating," Shelley Ward, president of the union, says in a notice on the PEIUPSE website.
"Canadians are facing difficult times when it comes to retirement security. We, as social activists, have grave concerns for the many Canadians – 63% – who will enter their golden years without the security of knowing they will be able to live comfortably," Ward adds.
"The labour movement has been working diligently holding town hall meetings, meeting with politicians, writing letters to politicians and holding demonstrations to raise awareness on the issue of pensions."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE