Around 80 members came out on a dark and cold night to support post-retirement health benefits for all retirees.
COQUITLAM – In an evening rally that led straight to the regular school board meeting on November 28, a crowd of more than 75 members of CUPE 561 and other locals called on School District 43 to restore post-retirement health benefits.
CUPE 561 President Dave Ginter thanked members of his and other locals as well as retirees and members of the public, who braved the dark and chilly night to join the rally. Participants wore red T-shirts with the message “Stop the Cuts” and carried placards calling for post-retirement health benefits to be restored. After rallying outside, they handed out brochures while parading through the small school district meeting room.
“We’ll be respectful,” said Ginter. “Write to each trustee. And don’t forget that 2018 is an election year.”
In May, School District 43 announced that post-retirement health benefits for all workers retiring after December 31, 2017 would be cut. Many members are retiring earlier than planned to ensure that they receive health benefits, resulting in a loss of experience and mentorship capability in the district.
CUPE 561 is running a campaign to let the public know what’s happening and ask for their support. As well as newspaper and radio advertising, the campaign includes transit shelter ads that feature CUPE 561 members.
“I believe we will be successful,” Ginter told the large crowd.
CUPE 561 represents 1,600 K-12 education support workers and 80 library workers in Coquitlam, 200 BC Transit workers in the Fraser Valley, as well as 650 retirees.
See rally photos here.