Labour mobilizes against pension plan changes

    Union members urged to turn up heat on Stelmach

    EDMONTON, Jan. 22 /CNW/ - A coalition of Alberta unions says recent
changes in the rules governing activities of the board of the Alberta Local
Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP) put at risk pension rights of 125,000
Albertans - including rights to early retirement, cost of living allowances
and workers' ability to retire when their age and years of service add up to
    The Labour Coalition on Pensions has purchased full-page advertisements
in Alberta daily newspapers today calling on members and pensioners to
telephone their MLAs and Premier Ed Stelmach to overturn the changes. The
coalition has registered a Website - - where detailed
information on the situation is available.
    The Coalition also commenced legal action to overturn the changes in
governance rules for the LAPP Board on December 19, 2007.
    "While our legal action continues, we believe this is fundamentally a
political problem that can be solved quickly by the Premier and cabinet," the
Coalition said today in a statement.
    At issue is a new employer-dominated system of governance brought in
despite union opposition at a November 15, 2007 meeting of the LAPP Board.
    The coalition says the new rules break a long-standing agreement which
required union approval for all significant changes to the policies or
governance of the Plan - opening the door for decisions which are against the
interests of working people.
    The old rules, established when employers and unions bailed out the
plan's unfunded liability in the early 1990's, required a two-thirds majority
and a quorum of eight members of the board, which had to include four employer
representatives and four employee representatives. Now only a simple majority
is required and there need not be a single labour representatives present.
    The new rules were passed surreptitiously using the requirements of the
new rules rather than those of the existing rules.
    "We urge all public service pension plan members and retirees to contact
the government and demand that this decision be reversed," the Coalition
members said. "Existing early retirement provisions, COLA provisions and the
'85 factor' are all at risk because of this change," the unions said.

    The coalition is made up of the Alberta Federation of Labour, the Alberta
Colleges and Institutes Faculty Association, the Alberta Union of Provincial
Employees, the Amalgamated Transit Union, the Canadian Union of Public
Employees, Health Sciences Association of Alberta and United Nurses of
Alberta. It represents approximately 125,000 members of the $15-billion LAPP.

For further information:

For further information: Elisabeth Ballermann, President, Health
Sciences Association of Alberta, (780) 488-0168; Doug Knight, President, AUPE,
(780) 930-3301 or (780) 265-6655 (cellular phone); D'Arcy Lanovaz, President,
CUPE Alberta Division, (403) 861-5235; Gil McGowan, President, Alberta
Federation of Labour, (780) 483-3021; Heather Smith, President, United Nurses
of Alberta, (780) 425-0125

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Alberta Federation of Labour

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