November 15 , 2016  

Calendar highlights for November 14 to 18:
  • staff rep Lawrence Maier participated in a Canada Labour Code (Part X - Hazardous Substances) conference call committee meeting on Tuesday
  • staff rep Dale Markling will attend a Dawn Foods pension meeting on Wednesday
  • GSU's annual membership meetings are underway. Watch your email for your meeting notice and check for updates
GSU's calendar of events is regularly updated and available on GSU's web page -    

Member of the Viterra/GSU pension plan?Thinking of retiring soon? Read on.

All members of the old Viterra/GSU pension plan should be aware that long term interest rates have gone up in November. These rates affect how the Commuted Values (CV) are calculated. For those who are thinking of retiring soon and taking their CV rather than the monthly pension, this could lower your CV. 

The communication we received from our actuary, Pat Johnson, is reprinted below. PLEASE REMEMBER - No one can predict how interest rates will move. The new calculation will be done at the end of November and will be applied on December 1. For those retiring on or before November 30 their CV will be based on the figures as of November 1. For those retiring on December 1 or later in December, their CV will be based on the figures as set on Dec 1.
For those members who are planning on taking the monthly pension, this does not affect your pension or the amount you will receive.
For those members taking their CV, the rates at the end of November will determine what amount you will receive if your retirement date is December 1 or later. If long term interest rates continue to increase in November, the CV will go down on December 1. If the long term rates go down in November the CV will increase. These calculations are done every month, and CV rates adjusted accordingly.
Right now, with the increase in interest rates so far, CV calculations show a reduction of between 4% to 9% between retiring in November, or waiting until December.
Communication from GSU actuary Pat Johnson of Pension Strategies Inc.:
"This is just a heads up about potential rate changes for December.  We are now mid-month (and the rates for December 2016 calculations won't actually be set until November 30). Following the election of Trump in the US, the Canadian interest rates used in determining the discount rates for commuted values have really spiked up (meaning commuted values for December will materially decrease if these rates hold until the end of the month).
Since the end of October, the mid-term Canada bond yields are up 34 basis points, the long-term Canada bond yields are up 37 basis points and the real return Canada bond yield is up 16 basis points.
If these rates hold until the end of the month, the commuted values for December 2016 will be 4% to 9% lower relative to November 2016.  Obviously, if rates continue to climb, commuted values in December will be even lower, and if rates settle back down, the decrease in the commuted values won't be as material.
You can't ever predict interest rates with confidence, but if you have some members considering termination near the end of the month - based on the current rates you might want to suggest that they consider terminating employment near the end of November rather than early in December based on the rate change so far.

Pat Johnson"
We do not know if rates will continue to rise, stay the same, or decrease. Income tax considerations will also be important factors. 
Please talk to your investment advisor before making any decisions. 

Did you know ...

GSU will calculate a commuted value estimate and explain the available benefits and entitlements you are eligible for as a member of your bargaining unit. 

This service is provided to you as part of your union dues.  There is no additional charge for assisting you.

Community Connection: Sub-Local 1.3 (Viterra - Moose Jaw & Area) donates to Riverside Mission

(L-r) GSU vice-president Brett North recently stopped by the Moose Jaw' Riverside Mission to present his Sub-Local's cheque to executive director Scott Elger.

Grain and General Services Union members are committed to bettering their communities. Through our Community Connection program GSU members choose a community organization, cause, or even a community member as the recipient of a $50 donation. 

By giving back to the community, our members demonstrate the positive influence of unions in the workplace, raise awareness of GSU in the community, and support and strengthen the communities where they work and live.

Brett North and the members of Sub-Local 1.3 (Viterra - Moose Jaw) make a point of accessing their Community Connection allotment at their meetings, and they have been long-term supporters of the Riverside Mission and the Moose Jaw Transition House.

Has your sub-local accessed it's Community Connection funding in 2016? Ask your staff rep for details.


We have a web page dedicated to GSU bargaining. 
Check it out at .

 Bargaining updates and reports are also available on GSU's web page -


Discovery Co-op

The two sides  met and came very close to reaching a tentative settlement during negotiations on October 14.  At the end of the day, the committees parted and the union met with the members to vote on the Company's proposal. As a result, members voted to r eject the Co-operative's offer and voted in favour of strike action.

Union and company representatives have agreed to meet on November 22.

Additional information will be posted here as it becomes available.

GSU's Local 17 bargaining committee members are  Shelbi Prescesky, Glen Morrison, and GSU staff rep Dale Markling.   

Prairie Co-op
A ratification meeting will be held November 21, 2016. Members will vote on the memorandum of settlement agreed to by the bargaining committee in September. 

GSU's Local 19 bargaining committee: Lindsay Hill (Strasbourg), Debbie Hillier (Cupar), and Steve Torgerson (GSU staff rep)

Western Producer

The union and company bargaining committees are tentatively scheduled to meet November 18.

This will be the third bargaining session. To date, the committees have met on October 18/19, and November 1.  

GSU's Local 20 bargaining committee members are Kim Quintin, Michelle Houlden, Laurie Michalycia, and Dale Markling (GSU staff rep). 

CHS Canada
The two sides have taken another step closer to reaching a tentative settlement for the members at Edenwold. Staff rep Steve Torgerson has been in contact with the members and management as progress continues and they work out a few clause language issues. 

Questions or Concerns? Contact GSU staff rep Steve Torgerson. 

Stay healthy! Stop touching your face

Do sniffling and coughing co-workers make you want to crawl under your desk? Are you concerned about every handshake during the cold and flu season?  

There are several simple things you can do to protect yourself and others from getting sick.

Check out these hints to increase your chances of staying healthy when everyone around you is sick.

This article has been printed for entertainment purposes. The views and opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of GSU, its members, officers, or staff.

Please consider the environment before printing this email.

This email and any attachment(s) are confidential and may be privileged. If you are not the intended recipient please notify GSU, delete this email and do not copy, use or disclose it.