TORONTO, July 4, 2019 /CNW/ - University staff at three Ontario universities have reached another significant milestone towards the creation of a new defined-benefit pension, the University Pension Plan (UPP).
Members of United Steelworkers (USW) locals at the University of Toronto, the University of Guelph and Queen's University are one step closer to improved retirement security. Voting by all participating employee groups was completed as of June 28, with consent achieved at the required threshold to begin the next phase of creating the new pension plan.
The proposed UPP is a jointly sponsored pension plan (JSPP) that includes labour groups at the three universities, including the founding USW locals and faculty associations.
The USW is the largest union at each of the universities, accounting for approximately one-third of the 18,000 people covered by the proposed UPP.
USW Locals 1998 (University of Toronto), 4120 (University of Guelph) and 2010 (Queen's University) worked collaboratively with their respective faculty groups to initiate the new plan, which is the product of many years of collaboration, consultation and vigorous negotiations with the university administrations and other stakeholder groups.
"University staff are excited to be joining this innovative plan that will offer a secure, defined-benefit pension for current and future staff," said Kelly J. Orser, President of USW Local 2010 representing staff at Queen's University.
Employee groups represented by multiple unions and faculty associations gain joint governance over the new plan, a key aspect that was missing in the previous arrangement of separate pension plans at each university.
"We worked together constructively to reach this goal. Gaining consent means we can now move forward with confidence into the next phase of this groundbreaking project," said Liz Cherry, President of USW Local 4120 representing staff at the University of Guelph.
"We are excited to reach this milestone. Now we can call it official and move forward to the stage of building this new pension plan," said Colleen Burke, President of USW Local 1998 representing staff at the University of Toronto.
The next phase of transferring five existing pension plans into the JSPP involves technical steps, obtaining additional approvals from university governing boards and applying to register the UPP with the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA).
The goal is to have the new UPP operational by July 1, 2021.
Staff at other universities will be able to join the UPP once it is established. As it grows, the UPP will create a larger pool for investing. Pension costs and risks will be spread out over a larger number of members.
"We remain committed to the creation of a defined benefit pension plan that will provide dependable retirement income for workers in the university sector," said Alex McKinnon, USW Research Department Leader.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information: Liz Cherry, USW Local 4120 President, [email protected], 519-766-4120; Kelly J. Orser, USW Local 2010 President, [email protected], 613-533-2693; P.C. Choo, USW Local 1998 Vice-President, [email protected], 416-506-9090 ext. 225; Alex McKinnon, USW Research Department, [email protected], 416-544-5981; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, [email protected], 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221