CBC PENSIONERS ASSOCIATION,
CBC Pensioners Association, Maritime Region Newsletter
ASSOCIATION AIMS FOR INDEPENDENCE
by Floyd Eisan
Your Association has been very busy over the past few months, both regionally and nationally. We have made big strides at the national level and the Corporation is starting to take us seriously at last. This started with the letter that I sent as National President to the CBC Board of Directors concerning the way they handled the surplus in the pension plan, sharing most of it between themselves and members of staff and giving only a token amount to us. The letter has drawn much comment from across the country, most of it positive. It served as a wakeup call for the Corporation and they seem to realize now that we are a legitimate group who want a say in our own affairs.
The CBC was upset to learn that we had gone to the unions to get support for the cost of mailing copies of that letter to you and they have now offered to pay the cost of future mail outs. However, we feel strongly that we must become an independent organization. This will require a membership fee structure to support the cost of a national office from which to conduct our affairs.
We are in the process of drawing up a mission statement outlining our aims and goals as an Association. We hope in the near future to be able to come to you with that statement, a proposed budget, and a membership card for your signature authorizing the deduction of a fee from your pension cheque.
Our spring meeting was held in Ottawa on May 6, and 7. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend as my wife took seriously ill, but the other members of the national executive carried on with the agenda I had drawn up and everything went very well.
George Smith, the Vice President, Human Resources, met with the group and apologized for the way that the Association had been viewed in the past. He assured us that we will be listened to in future on matters affecting pensioners, but cautioned that there will be times when we will disagree as the parties have different roles and responsibilities. Mr. Smith also said we could expect more support from the CBC this year than we had been earlier led to believe. He said the $15,000. quoted in a letter to me was over and above the cost of two printings and mailings of Association material, translations, teleconference calls and the use of an office in Ottawa.
The executive also received a briefing on the state of the pension plan. Steve Cotsman, the CEO of the Pension Board, spoke to the meeting and our own representative on the Pension Board of Trustees, Pierre Racicot, gave his report.
Supplementary health care came in for quite a bit of discussion. Changes are being made again in Blue Cross premiums based upon age, and will result in three separate fee structures effective immediately in NS and PEI. I don't have the exact figures in front of me, but a couple under 65 now pay about $113. monthly. When one spouse reaches 65 premiums will drop to $75 a month and when both are over 65 the rate drops to $46. This change means that some people now paying $46 will see their rate increase to $75. This change is aimed at bringing fees more in line with actual costs. In addition to the rate changes, there was a discussion about over-the-counter drugs that sometimes are being charged to the Blue Cross plan. We will be receiving a refund for these, and this plus the fee changes, should keep any premium increases to a minimum next year.
The CEO of the Federal Superannuates spoke at the meeting on what we should be doing as an association representing 7,500 pensioners. He stressed the need for independence and recommended basically the action plan that we are about to embark upon. This helps to reassure us that we are on the right track.
Collette Tours made a presentation to us promoting their services. They are a bus tour company based in the United States, but with offices in Montreal to serve Canada. They cater to groups such as ours, offering special rates to the participants and paying the Association 5% of the cost of each tour. Their clientele include the Telephone Pioneers and Canada Post retirees.
Turning to the local scene, our committees were hard at work throughout the winter, and reports
of their activities are given elsewhere in this newsletter.
The annual Food Bank drive held in December and sponsored by CBC Radio was another smashing success. The pensioners volunteer each year to receive donations at the curb and we collected $16,600 in cash and 8,000 pounds of food for the Metro Food Bank My thanks to all who turned out to help.
Please remember the new toll free number (1-888-604-9258) should you have any questions about your pension, your supplementary health care coverage, group insurance, etc. Do not hesitate to call me or any other member of the National or Regional Executive if you need help. We are here to assist you in any way we can.
Have a safe and healthy summer.
Since we started producing “Station Break” three years ago we’ve reported the retirement of many of our former colleagues throughout the Region but in this edition we would like to acknowledge a retirement that is of more than passing interest to all of us. Rachel Forbes, who helped us all over the years with problems and issues relating to our retirement, worked her last shift on April 30th. She actually retired at the end of December but stayed on at her post in Human Resources to help bridge the gap while her replacement was being recruited. by ED CURTIS
The Association felt that it was important that we do something to show our appreciation for her assistance over the years so at our meeting in Halifax in April we approved the expenditure of $100. for a gift. Jack Brownell of Frame Plus Art agreed to look after the selection of a gift and chose a Robert Bateman print, framed it and attached a suitable plaque, more than matching our contribution.
The presentation was made at Rachel’s farewell reception in late April which a number of Retirees were able to attend. In a message to the Association, Rachel said, “the wonderful Bateman print ... was such an unexpected surprise. It will certainly be put in a place of honour in our home.”
Rachel has indicated her intention to become involved with the Association and we know that we will be able to call on her from time to time for advice and assistance which she is well suited to provide because of her knowledge of the system.
The New Kid on the Block
Rachel’s replacement is Doretta Macdonald. A native of Nova Scotia, she grew up in Ontario but moved back to NS and finished her education here. Prior to joining the CBC, Doretta worked for Canada Post at the Regional Office in Halifax.
Doretta is a warm, friendly person determined to meet the standards set by Rachel. She says she’s more than willing to help retirees in any way she can. She’s still feeling her way but says, “anything I don’t know, I have Rachel’s number on speed-dial and can get the answer quickly.”
Doretta adds that while most problems can be handled through the national voice-mail system at 1-888-604-9258, many people prefer to deal with one individual. "I know a voice-mail system can be rather impersonal, so if there is any way I can help retirees I'll be glad to pitch in. She just asks, "be patient with me .. I’m still learning.”
Doretta says that after working at a Crown Corporation before, she’s really impressed with the family-type atmosphere at the CBC, “especially within the Pensioner’s group. That’s one thing that really struck me .. that the Pensioners are such a caring and tight-knit group who look out for each other. I really think your Association is great.”
Doretta can be reached at 420-4456.
Fraser, W. D. (Doug). Died suddenly on March 9, 1998 at home at the age of 78. Doug served in the Merchant Marine during the Second World War and joined the CBC after that. He spent most of his 29 years in radio news and was news supervisor in Halifax. Following his retirement he spent 12 years with the Nova Scotia government. He wrote two books and many radio and television plays.
Oxner, Gary Died suddenly at his home in Lower Sackville on December 2, while shovelling snow. He was 55. Gary retired Aug. 31, 1995, after 29 years service in the television technicial department in Halifax. He had worked earlier at Fairey Aviation and for Esso Burner Service.
Sherwood, William Peter Died in hospital in Halifax on Feb. 5th , 1998, at the age of 77. Born in Saint John, he served in the RCAF in the Second World War and joined the CBC in 1946. He was employed as a scenic artist, and also taught art for the Halifax Department of Continuing Education. He retired in 1985.
Short, Wayne Arthur Died in hospital in Halifax on March 27, 1998 at the age of 59. During his years with the CBC he worked in the accounting department and later in V.T.R. scheduling in TV Operations. He served as president of CUPE local 677 at the CBC at one point, and was active in his church and was a ham radio operator.
Spicer, Bernie. Died at his home in Granville Ferry, N.S., on May 16 at the age of 68. He was born in Canning, N.S., and spent 35 years with the Corporation, in the Film Department and later with Human Resources in Halifax, and Toronto. He was active in his church and was an avid gardener and woodworker during his retirement years.
Teale, Perry W. Died at his home in Musquodoboit Harbour about Dec. 20, 1997, at the age of 74. A native of Ontario, Perry studied music at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto. He served in the army during the War and joined the CBC in 1952. He was music librarian and later a music producer in Halifax radio. Perry was also active in Judo and competed nationally in the sport. He founded Judo Nova Scotia.
Mailing List for Speedy Communication
Some of you hear from the Regional Association twice a year in the Spring and Fall newsletters.
Others hear from us several times each month as matters of importance arise .. It’s not that we’re discriminating against anyone; we’re using E-mail to keep in touch with members who have a computer and are on line. So far we have about 70 people from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island on our mailing list, and even a few of our members who wintered in Florida kept up with events this way.
The list is maintained by your editor, Ivan Munn, who sends out regular reports on our monthly meetings in Halifax and matters that need that need immediate attention. Unfortunately deaths of members over the past few months have accounted for many of the messages that went out.
We also have our own Home Page on the World Wide Web now, thanks to the generosity of CBC Television in making some space available to us. The last two issues of Station Break are available there, and this one is already up there for the convenience of people with computers.It also saves us some money on mailing costs as we do not send copies to members who can read or download the material from our web site.
In addition to the newsletter, we have an up-to-date notice board with postings of the latest happenings of interest to members, a list of all officers and committee members,and phone numbers where members can get information on matters of concern to them.
If you have an E-mail address and are not part of the CBC Maritimes mailing list, send the information to Ivan Munn: email@example.com
Golf Tournament Teed up
Plans are pretty well finalized for this year's CBC-Pensioners Golf Tournament. Your Committee has been checking several courses including Truro, Avon Valley, Ken-Wo, Fox Hollow and Grandview, and Truro emerges as the winner when the various costs are considered. Staging the tournament at Truro will allow us to hold the entry fee at $55.00, which includes Green Fees, a meal and prizes.
We are aiming for September 16, so write that date on your refrigerator, sharpen up your game, and mail your application and cheque to Ed Curtis, 6 Ellenvale Ave., Dartmouth, N.S. B2W 2W3. Make your cheque payable to the CBC Pensioner's Association.
Applications should be in by the first week in September so we can make final arrangements with the golf club. You can reserve a golf cart by phoning the Truro Pro Shop at 893-4650.
History in the Writing!
People are at work on two fronts in Halifax to document the work of the CBC here from its early days to the present. One group started work on the radio project last fall, and work is just nicely getting underway on the TV side.
The radio effort is under the direction of Ern Dick who has joined our ranks here in Nova Scotia as a retiree from Head Office where he was the CBC's Corporate Archivist. He continues to do some work for the CBC and one of his projects is working with Don Tremaine on compiling a tape of selections of CBC radio programming in Nova Scotia.They met with a dozen CBC retirees last fall to collect stories and suggestions for programming that should be included.
Sue Mitton, the local Director of Radio, is supporting the project and a King's College School of Journalism student has spent the winter researching at the Public Archives of Nova Scotia for potential material to be used.
Ern and Don hope to complete the scripting and editing of the tape this summer and then will want to meet with the CBC Retirees to determine how we might want to become involved in making use of, promoting. distributing, or selling this tape.
TV Has Story to Tell Too.
Some veterans of the early days of television are preparing to write the history of CBC TV in Halifax. The idea started when the Regional Director, Fred Mattocks, approached the Association with a suggestion that we document the history of the Bell Road building. The matter was discussed at our monthly meeting in April and it was suggested that people like Max Corkum, Bill Harper, Peter MacNeil and Jack Simonsen would be good candidates for the job.
Bill Harper heads the committee and the group visited Bell Road in April to discuss plans.
Bill reported at our meeting in May that after touring the building the group felt that the story is more than just Bell Road, and to tell it properly they should go right back to Dec. 20, 1954, the day that CBC TV first signed on from studios on College Street.
Members of the group visited the Sackville Street building later to check on historical material that might be available. Bill said there is a surprising amount of old programs, program material and old, unidentified photos in the files.
Bill said an office is expected to be made available for the use of the committee at Sackville Street. He pointed out that the timing is not the best as people are starting to get busy outdoors now with the arrival of the good weather but he would like to see a start made at least on assembling material. The serious work will get underway in the fall, and anyone who feels they can contribute to the project is invited to take part.
ANOTHER PROMO IN THE CAN
More progress is reported in our efforts to help worthy charitable organizations through the production of public service announcements. Fred Martin reported at our meeting in May that his group has finished work on a promo for Meals on Wheels. Paul Murray shot the video, Paul Barr voiced it, and Gerry Wile and Terry Crocker took care of getting it into finished form. Halifax Cable has a copy to use and Meals on Wheels has copies to hand out to other stations. This is the second project completed by the committee. Earlier they made a couple of promos for Phoenix House, one for use at Christmas and another for use anytime. The work is being done with equipment and facilities loaned to us by Halifax Cable, who are being extremely co-operative and helpful.
Hope Cottage Committee
The Association is continuing to prepare and serve one meal a month to the homeless at Hope Cottage. Wilf Pottie, who heads the committee, says everything is on track and work is proceeding smoothly. However, he's still hoping a few more volunteers will come forward. He said if we had a few more names each person would only have to prepare one meal a year.
This Committee has no Work
A couple of years ago we formed a committee that would be available to help any of our members who might need a little assistance from time to time. We recognize that most retirees are in good physical and financial health, but there are others who could use a helping hand from time to time. We have the expertise within our ranks to handle most minor household tasks, anything from repairing a leaky faucet to doing a small paint job. We can also provide sympathetic and understanding listeners if there is a problem you want to discuss, or we can provide someone to sit with a family member while you go out to shop or do your banking.
Despite the fact that no one has asked for help, this committee has a list of volunteers who are still keen to help. If you need a hand with something from time to time, or know another retiree who does dont hesitate to get in touch. The committee chairman is Don Tremaine.