I hope Scott Banda and the rest of his “Leadership Team” read my story. I hope they take the time to realize, and consider, every employee working at this Refinery have their own story. All refinery employees have planned their financial future based on the promised and advertised DB Pension Plan when being hired.
“A Defined Benefit Pension plan is a type a pension plan in which an employer promises a specific pension payment”. Wikipedia.
I started full-time as a probationary labourer in the Yard in 1989. I worked there for three and a half years before I had an opportunity to bid into the bottom position in the PDD Warehouse in 1993 as a Plantperson. A year after that, in 1994 I was awarded the Warehouseperson position that offered sectional seniority. Gaining sectional seniority was a defining moment for me, it afforded me security and it meant that I could now map out the rest of my career at the refinery.
I knew by staying in the PDD Warehouse until retirement, I would finish my career at top-rate for my department, and this would benefit my pension. With that in mind, in 1994 I had settled in on my career plan and began looking forward to my future pension in retirement.
I recall the first time my financial advisor asked about the details of my pension, stating it would determine how aggressive additional financial planning would have to be, in order to end up with a comfortable retirement.
The amounts that I have contributed over the years to RRSPs and TFSAs to supplement my pension were based on the advice of my financial planner and the plan that we together felt would work best for my situation. The contribution amounts were determined by considering what my pension payout would amount to at the age I had decided to retire.
Perhaps I could have contributed more to my portfolio over the last 30 years, however I still had all the expenses every family has, mortgages, vehicle payments, children's sports, family vacation, etc. This is the very reason we are encouraged to do financial planning in the first place, to achieve a balance between working towards retirement and trying to provide your family with the best quality of life you can achieve.
If we let the Company take away our DB pension, I like many others do not have the years left that would be required to recoup the losses imposed upon me by the Company. I do not have the option to go back in time 30 years to reconfigure my portfolio.
The promise of a pension determined my financial decisions and my approach on how to invest my finances for the last 30 years that I have been employed. It is unacceptable for the Company to dismiss a lifetime of planning from their employees. We need to send them a clear message that we will not accept concessions, it is not fair or reasonable, especially while they make record profits.
The DC plan being offered by the Company may be a decent DC plan, but it is still far inferior to our current DB plan. There is a reason lawsuits were considered by Managers when the Company forced the switch on them. The Company isn't pushing this hard to move everyone to a DC plan to benefit the employees, they are only interested in the money it will save them by not rewarding you with the pension you were promised and earned.
Our pension benefits are in our contract (mutually bargained by both the Union and the Company). The simple fact is the Company wants to break the contract at our expense.
In Solidarity, Scott Hill