Workplace pensions a thing of the past: Will the first generation to enjoy retirement security also be the last?

February 6, 2014 :: Shannon Phillips
Moderated by Knud Petersen

In the fall of 2013, Alberta’s Finance Minister Doug Horner announced major changes to the pension plans Alberta's frontline workers in health care, education, emergency services, cities, towns, colleges, and universities pay into.

The Labour Coalition on Pensions represents 200,000 frontline workers who pay into Alberta’s public sector pension plans and approximately 90,000 retirees.

The Coalition argues that Horner’s proposed changes will slash pension values by more than 25% after 2016 and front-line workers in physically demanding jobs can no longer retire at 60.

Are the workplace pensions of the 70s, 80s, and 90s a thing of the past? Will future retirees have any chance at the income security today’s retired people currently enjoy? Are public sector pension plans actually unsustainable, as the Alberta government says they are? The speaker will argue that the battle over pensions chips away at income security for Alberta’s middle class and presents the possibility of significant inter-generational strife when today’s young people are likely to be more retirement-insecure than any generation since the end of WWII.

Speaker: Shannon Phillips

Shannon Phillips holds an Honours BA in Political Science and a Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Alberta. She was Jack Layton’s first Alberta organizer for the federal NDP in 2003. After the 2004 federal election, she moved on to work as the Alberta NDP Director of Communications at the Legislature.

Shannon moved to Lethbridge in 2006 when she started a successful consulting practice to NGOs and labour unions and began writing for magazines. She also worked as a TV producer on a CBC Newsworld international affairs show, On the Map with Avi Lewis. Shannon has been nominated for several magazine awards for her publications in AlbertaViews.

Shannon has worked for the Alberta Federation of Labour since 2009, where she is a senior policy analyst, focusing on energy economics, Alberta’s labour market, and health care. She is one of the staff behind the Labour Coalition on Pensions campaign,

Date: Thursday, February 6, 2014
Time: Noon - 1:30 PM
Location: Country Kitchen Catering (Lower level of The Keg) 1715 Mayor Magrath Dr S
Cost: $11.00 (includes lunch)

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