Pension Information Meeting: September 29, 2014
- A Personal Report
Home << Pension Information Meeting: September 29, 2014 - A Personal Report
A Personal Report and Commentary on Events of September 29, 2014
I have been pondering, for the last couple of weeks, the events that took place at the Annual Pension Information Meeting at Concordia. What I write below represents my personal observations. Though I am your webmaster and a member of the executive of your pensioners’ association (CUPARUC), I am not writing here in any of these official capacities.
I attend Pension Information Meeting every year, when possible. I believe it is the duty of every pensioner who is able, to come by once a year and engage with the Pension committee, the committee which manages our pension on a day-to-day basis. My understanding is that there are two committees, which are often confused. As explained at the meeting, the “Benefits” committee is a sub-committee of the board of governors, and is the only body able to entertain and recommend changes to the pension plan itself. Such recommendations would be forwarded to the Board of Governors for action. The “Pension” committee is mandated by the provincial legislation governing pensions. The same legislation mandates the annual report we all receive, as well as the annual information meeting.
A troubling element in the legislation calls for the possibility of elections for committee member representatives from the various groups that make up the members of the pension plan – elections on the spot and nominations from the floor, to be decided by those members of the group in question who are present at the time. Because this is always on the agenda, I have long argued that it is important for members of CUPARUC to come to this meeting, to stay past the call for elections and to be prepared to stay later if one is called.
Your association, CUPARUC, has representative on the Pension Committee, who represent you. These members have spoken for you for many years, and are nominated each year by your association. There is a formal nomination process, put in place by the administration, for putting forth other names and for an orderly vote among all affected. But this process is subservient to the law, which permits nominations from the floor of the Pension Information Meeting, and an immediate vote among those present represented by that group.
“It never happens,“ I was told. Well, this year it happened. A fair number of CUPARUC members had turned out, but quite a number had left by this point. We were maybe a handful remaining. A member of the “inactive” group, which includes not only pensioners, but others, and who was favorable to the union which had brought a large number of people out to the meeting, put forth his nomination. It was seconded. One of your CUPARUC representatives could well have been unseated, right then and there!
As it was, there were several questions upon which the Pension Committee present had to deliberate and they finally decided that, if necessary, another meeting would be called to deal with the election. We would have had a second chance. The nominee withdrew his nomination and the event passed. This could easily happen again in the future. Our representation, as pensioners, is not entirely safe from being caught in the winds of other people’s disputes and conflicts.
It is essential, in my personal opinion, that a sufficient number of CUPARUC members pay attention to this annual meeting in the future, make sure to attend and remain until the agenda point calling for elections is passed. If necessary, they should be prepared to stay on into the night is an election is called. I realize this is an imposition on some pensioners, who could be quite elderly and who may not want to venture out at night, but it is our duty to stand up for our collective interests.
October 14, 2014