Queen's University Employees Join Forces to Protect Pensions

KINGSTON, ON, May 20, 2015 /CNW/ - Unions representing more than 7,000 Queen's University employees and pensioners are joining forces to seek an agreement with the university to ensure improved pension protection and long-term sustainability for their members.

A pension co-operation agreement was signed today by representatives of the Queen's University Faculty Association (QUFA), United Steelworkers (USW), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).

"We recognize that pension funding and long-term sustainability are major issues confronting our members and the university," the labour groups said in a joint statement. "The provincial government is pushing universities to join a Jointly Sponsored Pension Plan (JSPP)." (A JSPP is a defined benefit plan in which employers and members share responsibility for plan governance and funding).

"This co-operation agreement reflects our intention to work together on pension issues and to present a united front to the university in order to negotiate the best possible long-term solution to enhance retirement security for our members."

The four labour groups represent more than 7,150 pension plan members at Queen's, including more than 3,700 active employees. The pension plan currently has about $1.5 billion in assets.

The co-operation agreement will see the labour groups examine options for addressing pension funding and solvency issues. Options could include solidifying the existing pension plan or joining a new, sector-specific, multi-employer JSPP.

"Our goal is to pursue proactive approaches to ensure long-term retirement protection and the viability of our members' pension plan," the groups said.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: Alex D. McKinnon, USW Research Director, 416-544-5981, amckinnon@usw.ca; Grant Amyot, QUFA, 613-533-6234, amyotg@queensu.ca; Donna Carlaw, CUPE, 613-542-2069, Ext, 223, dcarlaw@cupe.ca; Cheri Hearty, OPSEU, chearty@opseu.org

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