Public sector workers take action for retirement security

Hundreds of public sector workers braved a spring snowstorm to participate in the Pension Day of Action on March 20, 2014. At more than thirty sites across the province, members of United Nurses of Alberta joined their colleagues from the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, Health Sciences Association, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Unifor and others to defend their modest pensions against imposed cuts to their retirement savings unilaterally introduced by the PC Government.

Their message: Nobody voted on these cuts and by breaking the promise it made to front-line public employees, the Alberta Government sends the message no one can trust the agreements it makes.

Before imposing big changes, the government should have engaged in negotiations with front line public employees so that solutions everyone could have lived with could have been agreed upon.

The average public sector pension in Alberta is only about $14,000.

Imposed pension cuts will make it more difficult for hospitals, schools, universities and other public sector employers to find and keep skilled and dedicated front line employees. This, in turn, is bound to have an impact on the quality of public services in Alberta.

Recent announcements by the government suggest it has backed down on key issues, but in reality it is continuing to break the promise made to front-line workers like UNA nurses by imposing pension cuts rather than negotiating them.

As a result, affected workers rallied over lunchtime at worksites in Edmonton, St. Albert, Calgary, Hinton, Red Deer, Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Grande Prairie, Peace River, High River and Drumheller.

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