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Canadian Public Service Pensions in the Shadow of Madison, Wisconsin

Posted by on Mar 6, 2011 in Retirement | 0 comments

DAVID JOHNSTON, The Gazette: Friday, March 4, 2011

The pension-plan problems of Montreal Island municipalities reflect Canada-wide affordability issues with such public-sector plans that need urgent fixing, a Canadian pension reform advocate says.

Taxpayers can’t afford current pension entitlements for public-sector workers, and governments need to pass special laws to reduce future accruals, says Bill Tufts, a Toronto human-resources consultant.

But to be fair to public-sector workers, says Tufts, who is writing a book on the public-sector pension challenge, Canadians must respect the vested entitlements that the workers have accrued to date.

Tufts is the founder and curator of a national blog titled Fair Pensions for All that is one of North America’s leading aggregators of public-sector pension news in the developed world. READ MORE

TERENCE CORCORAN National Post March 4, 2011 – 11:14 pm

To Canada’s union leaders, the old putdown applies: They couldn’t organize a one-float parade. They can’t, for example, organize the relatively lower-paid workers at even one Wal-Mart outlet, despite more than a decade of trying and millions of dollars spent. They tried the banks and came up dry. Toyota Canada workers won’t have them. Michelin tire makers in the Maritimes have thrown the unions out a dozen times. As far as Canada’s private-sector workers are concerned, polls and the membership data show, they don’t want no stinkin’ union.

Canadians who work in non-union shops want nothing to do with unions, which is why total union membership in Canada has dropped from 38% in 1981 to 29% today.

Then there’s the great divide. Whether public-sector workers — in hospitals, transit systems, education — actually want to be members of unions in Canada is a question that cannot be answered. Government jobs are almost 75% unionized, and nobody has a chance of getting out of the unions. Across the country, from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) to the provincial teachers’ unions to all the other government employee groups at national and municipal levels, the big government unions have a hammer lock on workers — and taxpayers. READ MORE

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