Canadian Spotlight

BLE helps secure pension improvements for CN workers

At its regular board meeting on April 17, Canadian National Railway's Board of Directors approved pension improvements for Locomotive Engineers and Rail Traffic Controllers, BLE Canadian Director Gilles Hallé announced.

The union representatives unanimously agreed to improvements in the pension formula, as of Jan. 1, 2001, from 1.5%/2% for past and future service for all active unionized employee members of the CN Pension Plan in Canada as of such date. This motion also included improving the pension formula to 1.7%/2% as of Jan. 1, 2002, on the same basis for unionized employee members of the CN Pension Plan in Canada who are active as of Jan. 1, 2002.

All unions (BLE, BMWE, CAW, UTU, IBEW and the Police Association) have agreed to use the improvement account money to realize the new benefits. The estimated cost is $223 million for these changes, which will be distributed to pensioners in direct lifetime monthly pension increases.

"This is over and above the previous improvement for our retired members, which cost over $140 million, last January," Brother Hallé said.

According to BLE Canadian Director Hallé, over the last three years the Brotherhood has been able to increase the members' future monthly pension by over $400 without any increase in contributions.

The Pension Committee, which replaced CN's Pension Board, was formed last year following the last round of national negotiations. Its role includes recommending pension improvements using available funds in the Escalation and Improvement Accounts.

CN's pension committee is unique in Canada in having the authority to recommend improvements in unionized employees' pension benefits during the life of collective agreements, without having to wait for collective bargaining.

Brother Hallé expressed thanks to all CN General Chairmen for their support.

The Maximum Pensionable Earnings average required to obtain the maximum pension will be decreased from $95,325.00 to $93,410.00 for 2000 and to $91,600.00 for 2002 (based on a projected Y.M.P.E. at $39,000.00 for 2002).

The maximum contribution per year will be lowered from $6,077.00 for 2000 to $5,945.00 for 2001 and to $5,808.00 for 2002 (based on a projected Y.M.P.E. at $39,000.00 for 2002).

 

© 2001 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers