The State Worker

Canadian unions strike, shut down port over California-style pension plan

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A California-style plan to reduce public-pension debt has sparked protests in Canada’s Quebec province, including firefighters who have blocked the Port of Montreal.

Canada’s CBC News reports that about 5,500 employees are on a one-day strike over Bill 3, which would require provincial workers pay half the cost of their retirement plans, much like the 2013 law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Some Quebec labor contracts currently require employers shoulder up to 70 percent of the cost. The Quebec plan also would freeze indexed pension increases for retirees and forbid pension costs exceeding 18 percent of payroll costs. Public employers face a combined $4 billion unfunded pension liability, according to Quebec government estimates. Unions want to address the shortfall through bargaining instead of legislation.

The union actions today follow news on Tuesday that Quebec provincial officials plan to ax about 1,500 jobs. The province employs about 60,000 workers.

Call Jon Ortiz, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1043.

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