Good day Brothers and Sisters
It has come to my attention that there is some confusion regarding the history and process of the Local 110 Mortuary fund and how payments are distributed.
Our Mortuary Fund started out of the financial need of spouses when our members passed away. In most cases, at that time, bank accounts were jointly held by husband and wife and when the husband passed away the funds would be frozen until the paperwork and taxes could be completed. This resulted in a number of our members spouses having a difficult time not only paying for funerals but also the basic necessities of life. As such, the membership decided to introduce a death benefit that would be quickly paid out at the time of passing with the least amount of paperwork possible.
When the Mortuary plan started, the policy was held by American Income Life Insurance. The members of the Local would pay the yearly premium to the Local and the Local would in turn pay the premium on the death benefit. At this time each member once the Local paid the premium would receive a benefit card from American Income Life showing the amount of the death benefit, the status that it was paid in full and the date of renewal. As the membership began to grow and with very few yearly deaths the Local was paying significantly more in yearly premiums then AIL was paying out in death benefits. As such it was decided that the Local would take over the management, administration and payments of the Mortuary plan. To do this the Local was required to provide funds from the general fund to insure any required payouts could be met and the yearly premiums paid by the membership of the Local would have to be held in a separate account, as such the Local 110 Mortuary Fund was created and continues in the same way even today.
In regards to eligibility to be a member of the Mortuary Fund, every person who is voted in as a member of Local 110 automatically becomes a member of the Mortuary Fund until such time as the individual does not pay the yearly assessment. Currently our yearly assessments are due April 30th and payment of this assessment then provides coverage from May 1st of the same year to April 30th the following year. When a person does not pay the yearly assessment, they are no longer covered under the Mortuary Fund however, they are still members in good standing with the union. Conversely when a member is lapsed from Local 110 and has paid the yearly assessment before they are lapsed they are still covered under the plan until April 30th when the next assessment would be due.
I would like to bring attention to the issue that an individual’s membership status in Local 110 does not totally control the status in the Mortuary Fund because this year a member was lapsed from Local 110 and, shortly thereafter, passed away. Since this individual was current with the Mortuary Fund, their family was correctly paid the death benefit they were entitled to. Another member has brought forward their concerns regarding this process. Although we may feel upset by the fact that a person who would allow their membership in our Local to lapse could still benefit from a fund that they were part of as a result of their membership, the legitimacy and future of the Mortuary Fund is more important than personal feelings and that is why the benefits have been, and continue to be, paid without discrimination or malice. The Trustees of Local 110 have reviewed this individual’s payment from the Mortuary Fund and found it to be in order, in accordance with the protocol of the plan and in accordance with historical procedure.
If there are any questions regarding the Fund please contact me at the Edmonton union office.