October 20, 2014
Greetings Unifor members at Bell Aliant,
As you may know, there have been a few questions at some of our ratification meetings regarding the continuation of Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEBs) under the tentative agreement you are currently voting on.
In particular, some folks wanted assurance that Article 28.21 would secure this provision under this tentative agreement because the old agreement referred to a specific date. As committed, we secured that assurance from the company in a letter from Fred Crooks which is posted to our website (www.unifor-acl.ca). This puts to rest any question regarding OPEBs continuing throughout the life of this new agreement with our new employer, BCE.
Further, we wanted you to know that this very issue was dealt with in a 2011 arbitration involving Bell Canada. Most interesting in the arbitration is that reasonable notice to change PRBs (our OPEBs) was deemed to be 5 years. In 2007, Bell Canada announced that it would be gradually changing certain benefits over a 10 year period and not before 2012. It remains to be seen if we will ever eventually face a similar proclamation by Bell Canada down the road. But we will ready ourselves to maintain this most important benefit to our retiring members and prepare ourselves accordingly when we begin negotiations in 3 years. For now, we can at least put this matter to bed for those who were wondering if the employer could immediately and unilaterally remove this benefit in the next 3 years as members contemplate the possibility of retirement.
We trust this sufficiently addresses the matter. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to ask a member of the Unifor ACL Executive.
Bobby MacDonald David Gates
Lynn Briggs Steve Howlett
Joyclin Coates Mary Croke
Click here to view: Letter from Fred Crooks Re: Continuation of OPEB’s