MGEU demands release of millions in insurance fund surplus

'It’s not up for debate. This money belongs to our members and they deserve to receive it now.' - Peter Olfert


Winnipeg (31 Oct. 2008) - The Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE) is demanding that the province release a multi-million-dollar group insurance surplus for distribution to current union members and retirees.

MGEU president Peter Olfert says a surplus on the books of the Public Service Group Insurance Fund (PSGIF) was signed off by all affected unions and employers two months ago. However, it is now being held back from distribution by provincial authorities.

"The PSGIF is the insurance plan provided to members of the Superannuation Fund and is held in the custody of the minister of finance," Olfert notes. "Every three years, the financial position of this fund is evaluated to review the adequacy of contributions paid to the plan. In 2007, a surplus of $10 million was identified based on the financial experience at the end of 2006."

The Superannuation Insurance Liaison Negotiating Committee signed an agreement in August to distribute over $6 million of the surplus to current employees and retirees as well as to increase the amount of paid-up life insurance from $4,500 to $5,000. The funds were targeted for distribution in October.

However, MGEU has been advised that these funds will not be released until the union agrees to sign off on the employer’s portion of this surplus. This condition was not part of the original agreement.

"Employer contributions to the plan can be a taxable benefit to employees and are part of their compensation package so they should be used to benefit employees," Olfert says.

"It’s not up for debate. This money belongs to our members and they deserve to receive it now," said Olfert who is demanding an unconditional distribution of the funds as soon as possible.

Olfert is asking members to contact these officials directly and demand release of the funds: Greg Selinger, Minister of Finance (204-945-8451) or Larry Grant, Labour Relations Head of the Employer Advisory Committee (204-945-2633). NUPGE