Union coalition takes legal action to overturn changes to governance of Alberta Local Authorities Pension Plan



    EDMONTON, Dec. 19 /CNW/ - A coalition of important Alberta unions and the
Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) will commence legal action today to
overturn recent changes in the rules governing activities of the board of the
Alberta Local Authorities Pension Plan.
    An originating notice of motion will be filed in the Alberta Court of
Queen's Bench by the AFL and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees,
Canadian Union of Public Employees, Health Sciences Association of Alberta and
United Nurses of Alberta.
    The unions are members of the Labour Coalition on Pensions, representing
approximately 125,000 members of the LAPP, which at $15-billion is Alberta's
largest pension plan. The Amalgamated Transit Union and the Alberta Colleges
and Institutes Faculties Association are also members of the coalition. AUPE
is a part of the coalition but not a member of the AFL.
    The coalition objects to a change introduced suddenly at the LAPP Board's
Nov. 15, 2007, regular meeting that, if allowed to proceed, would break a
long-standing agreement and deprive unions of a veto over decisions negatively
affecting their members and retirees.
    "This is an extremely serious matter of grave concern to our members,"
the coalition said in a joint statement.
    Under rules properly adopted in 1994, the 14-member LAPP Board required a
two-thirds majority to pass a motion. In addition, under those rules, a quorum
was defined as eight members of the board, including four employer
representatives and four employee representatives.
    The 1994 rules were based on an understanding among the Government of
Alberta, employers and unions that stemmed from pension reforms in 1991 and
1992.
    Through the understanding, employees agreed to help pay for the LAPP's
unfunded liability in return for an independent pension plan and joint
governance, neither of which have been truly implemented. However, the rules
governing the conduct of the board gave unions representing LAPP members a way
to stop measures that would hurt their members or retirees.
    Other properly constituted boards of Alberta agencies operate under rules
similar to the old rules of the LAPP Board.
    On Nov. 15, however, the LAPP Board adopted two changes based on an
argument presented by their legal advisor. Under these changes, quorum would
now be defined as 50 per cent of the members of the board and motions would be
passed by a vote of 50 per cent plus one.
    The unions dispute the arguments of the LAPP's legal advisor and object
to the new rules.
    The changes were passed by the board using the new rules as interpreted
by the LAPP's lawyer.
    The union action being filed today argues that the changes constitute a
breach of the understanding stemming from the 1991-92 pension reforms and
improperly take away the unions' agreed-upon ability to protect their members'
interests.
    In addition, the action argues that the board lawyer's opinion is in
error and that the action of the board, based on that opinion, is improper and
must be overturned.





For further information:

For further information: Gil McGowan, AFL President, (780) 483-3021
(office) or (780) 218-9888 (cell); Carl Soderstrom, Director of Labour
Relations, AUPE, (780) 930-3340 (office) or (780) 719-7404 (cell)

Organization Profile

Alberta Federation of Labour

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LABOUR COALITION ON PENSIONS

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