The idea of an organization representing the interests of retired postal workers has been around for quite awhile. A group of CUPW retirees in B.C.’s Lower Mainland had established a Local retirees’ organization, but it took the threats by the Harper Conservative Government to Defined Benefit Pension plans (DBPs) won by federal workers decades ago, to launch a serious discussion about how critical it had become to build a National retirees’ organization.
Beginning in 2014, with the assistance of CUPW, an ad hoc group of retirees with participants from all Regions began a series of teleconferences to pursue this project. We were able to establish some basic priorities:
These initial activities were spurred on by our discovery that the newly-elected Trudeau Liberal Government intended to enshrine the Harper attack on Pensions in legislation (Bill C-27) bringing “Target Benefit” Pension plans (TBPs) incorporating the risks of market fluctuations to bear on retirees’ pensions in Crown Corporations and federally regulated private sector pension plans
CUPW adopted a resolution at its 2015 Convention to help in the retirees’ organizing efforts. This assistance was crucial. It allowed us, in addition to establishing an interim steering committee for the fledgling organization led by Brother Jean-Claude Parrot, to send a letter making the case for a National Retirees Organization and asking for membership at a nominal fee. This letter was prepared and signed by Brother Parrot and Interim NORPW Vice-president Lynn Bue, and sent out in August 2016.
The response was gratifying. Over the next few months a solid membership base took root. A huge majority of the members adopted a Constitution, a National Executive Committee and National Executive Board elected, and NORPW registered as a Not-For-Profit Corporation. It quickly became affiliated to the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC), the CLC’s retiree organization, and other organizations working on defending and expanding workers’ pensions. NORPW’s commitment to deepen the mutual support between CUPW and NORPW has been key to our activities.
During this period, NORPW became increasingly active in the struggle against Bill C-27 and the attack on Defined Benefit Pension plans. NORPW joined with other retiree groups that shared our alarm over the Bill. NORPW was prominent in initiating a conflict-of -interest complaint over Finance Minister Morneau’s introduction of this Bill—he stood to gain a large financial profit from its implementation. Although the complaint in the end was not accepted for “technical” reasons, it was successful in delaying Bill C-27’s journey through Parliament, where it died upon the arrival of the federal election.
As NORPW’s Newsletters to its members emphasize, it is clear the threat contained in Bill C-27 has by no means disappeared. The organizing to protect our DBP plan has to continue.
Through its joining with other pension and retiree advocate groups, NORPW also has recognized that the fight to protect existing secure pensions cannot be separated from the reality for those retirees who do not have a pension plan or suffer from an inadequate plan. For this reason, NORPW has joined the campaign for “Retirement Security NOW” for everyone. The solution, Brother Parrot has noted, requires that “government energies should be focused there instead of attacking Defined Benefit Pension Plans”.
We’re all in it together.
President: Jean-Claude Parrot
Vice-President: Karen Kennedy
Secretary-Treasurer: Evert Hoogers
Atlantic: Fred Furlong
Quebec: Philippe Arbour
Montreal: Francis Benard
Ontario: Peter Whitaker
Ontario South: Sue Scott-Mallett
Toronto: Larry Lukkarinen
Prairies: Mary Lussier
Pacific: Micki McCune
1. Become a CUPW retired member, as per section 1.22 of the National Constitution. You can become a retired member by sending a request to your Local Secretary- Treasurer and asking for a retired member status. It is easy, free, and upon registration, you will be issued a Retired Membership Card. This will ensure you continue receiving the “Perspective”.
2. Join the “CUPW National Organization of Retired Postal Workers” (NORPW). NORPW gives retirees a voice and input into the future of our pensions and post retirement benefits with no requirement to pay union dues. To join, send the completed form and payment to the address at the bottom of the application form.
3. Join your CUPW Local Retiree Committee. By joining your Local Retiree Committee, you can stay informed about your pension and post- retirement benefits, socialize with other retirees, raise issues of concern and share your knowledge, experience and ideas with your Local. Contact your Local Executive Committee for additional information.
In addition to the above, retirees from other Unions have set-up organizations to continue the fight for pensions, pharmacare, and services to seniors. In most provinces, the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC) is the organization representing retired union members (http://www.unionretiree.ca). In Quebec, contact the Regroupement des syndicalistes à la retraite (RSR) (http://www.rsr-crftqmm.org).