'A Very Good Beginning' - U of T faculty leaders commend pension decision

TORONTO, Oct. 9 /CNW/ - George Luste, President of the University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA), today called the August 2009 arbitration decision on the University's pension plan "a very good beginning" toward the goals of improving plan governance and securing strong faculty representation in decision-making.

Last Friday, the University's Business Board announced its intention to implement the award handed down on August 17, 2009 by the arbitrator, Martin Teplitsky. The Chair will present an implementation plan at the November 2009 meeting of the Board.

"UTFA has been reviewing the pension decision carefully," said Luste. "While we did not achieve everything we believe is essential in the long term, we are encouraged by key aspects of Mr. Teplitsky's award."

UTFA has been calling for reform in the governance, financing, investment policies, and decision-making of the University's pension plan for several years. UTFA's proposals in the 2009 round of pension bargaining included an Independent Board of Trustees to act as the plan's administrator, and called for equal representation on the Board of Administration of officials and faculty members.

"The Teplitsky decision meets our demands part way," said Luste.

"We did not achieve an independent board, but we have won the creation of a 'Pension Committee' that will have administrative duties previously carried out by the University's Business Board. That's an important step toward ending the conflicts of interest many of us believed inherent in the previous arrangement."

While it's far from the equal representation in plan administration called for by UTFA, the Association also commends the arbitrator's decision to mandate significant faculty voice on the new Pension Committee. UTFA will have the right to appoint 4 of the 7 Committee members representing pension plan members; the University's Governing Council will appoint 9 members.

Luste added: "These gains, as well as others on issues of transparency and investment practice, came about because of the hard work of UTFA's bargaining team and counsel, backed up by the support and encouragement of the UTFA membership".

The University of Toronto pension plan has been the subject of a series of special information bulletins produced by UTFA in the past two years. These have generated considerable controversy and discussion.

UTFA president Luste concluded: "The Teplitsky award does not meet all our demands, but it shows that our critique and proposals are on the right track.

"UTFA will continue to articulate its concerns as a key part of fulfilling its responsibility to its members, working and retired, and to the well-being of the entire University of Toronto community."


For further information: For further information: George Luste, President, UTFA, phone: (416) 978-4676

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